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~~~~~~~~ In Memoriam: Norbert Slama (1926-2017) ~~~~
~~~~~~~~ Famous Blind Accordionist in Paris and New Orleans ~~~~~
WELCOME TO DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#191 January, 2019== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Quote for the Opening Door to the New Year Month of January:
We intersect each other's lives for a purpose, and we bear gifts for one another.
Julia Cameron , Author of The Artist's Way
(Quote found in PK Scheerle's 2012 newsletter)
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GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS Presents
ISSUE#191 for January, 2019
Archived DIGESTWORLD Issues
Table of Contents
1. January's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for January
3. On a Personal Note
4. Cajun Story
5. Recipe for January, 2019 from Bobby Jeaux: Quick Cream of Broccoli Soup
6. Poem from The Karma of Untruthfulness: "Hearts Are Wise"
7. Reviews and Articles featured for January:
8. Commentary on the World
- ARJ2: The Origins of Natural Science by Rudolf Steiner
- ARJ2: Secret Brotherhoods and the Mystery of the Human Double by Rudolf Steiner
- ARJ2: Vol I: The Sufi Message — The Way of Illumination; The Inner Life; The Soul, Whence and Whither?; Purpose of Life by Khan, Hazrat Inayat
1. Padre Filius Cartoon
2. Comments from Readers
3. Freedom on the Half Shell Poem
9. Closing Notes our mailing list, locating books, subscribing/unsubscribing to DIGESTWORLD
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1. January Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==This month Violet spies Joey Thinking about 2019.
For newcomers to DIGESTWORLD, we have created a webpage of early Violet-n-Joey cartoons!
"New Year Glyph" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/181214vj.jpg
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2. HONORED READERS FOR January:
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Each month we choose to honor two Good Readers of our DIGESTWORLD from those all over the World. Here are the two worthy Honored Readers for January, 2019:
Stephen Kornich in Belle Chasse, LA
Kiernan Zimmer in New Orleans, LA
Congratulations, Stephen and Kiernan!
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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:
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Out Our Way:
CHRISTMAS TREES, DOOR DECORATIONS, AND FOLDEROL
We had a cruise scheduled from the 15th through the 22nd of December, so all of our Christmas activities had to be compressed into the time remaining or missed entirely. Del usually has our presents for the family of children, gkids, and ggkids bought and wrapped by Thanksgiving each year, so that left us time for the other activities before our Crystal Symphony cruise sailed out of New Orleans and back a week later.
First off Del was part of the Les Dames of Timberlane ladies who decorated the Clubhouse and its large Christmas tree. Then she spent several days decorating our front entrance for the Twilight Garden Club Door Decoration contest. I was able to dissuade her from driving concrete nails into the brickwork to hold the draping greenery, opting instead for good ole duct tape.
My new SONY HX90 camera came in early in the month and I was able to give it a work out. My first test was to make sure the Fill Flash did what I wanted it to do: Fire a Flash when a bright background surrounds the person so that their photo comes out bright and clear. With the Auto setting, such photos would have dark people in the middle. Sure enough, the Fill Flash worked as I hoped.There was a new feature which surprised me: a pop-up view-finder! What a delight to be able to focus in on objects in bright daylight when the normal view screen is washed out. The view-finder only activates when your eye gets close to it, so you can leave it working in case you might need it. When taking photos of fighter jets flying over from the nearby Belle Chasse Naval Air Station, I used to have to guess how to get them on screen with only a second or two to do so. Now I'll be able to zero in on them with the new view-finder.
Del and I joined our Burgundian friends for a Christmas dinner at our club. These couples live close to each other on Burgundy Street and nearby streets in the French Quarter, a few minutes away from our home in Gretna. I like the name "Burgundian" because it matches the sound of the street "Burgundy" which, in New Orleans, is not pronounced like the wine is: "burr-gund-ee" but is said this way: "burr-gund-ee". Ask a local for the street using the wine-sounding pronunciation and you'll likely hear back, "There ain't no such street, Dude!" But any local can tell you where to find the street named "Tchoupitoulas" in a heartbeat, if you have any luck pronouncing it. I had a friend who came to the city with a job in hand for a place on Tchoupitoulas but was unemployed for three weeks, unable to find the street! This was in1970s when phones were Smarter than people. There's a tale about an NOPD cop sent to report on a dead horse on Tchoupitoulas Street. He had to write up a report, and since he couldn't spell Tchoupitoulas, he dragged the dead horse one block to Camp Street.
Our daughter Kim graduated from LSU and because of her graduation, the number of LSU graduations have incereased to 7, just from her family. Her husband Wes, her kids, Katie (Stephen), Weslee (Laurel), and Thomas filled out their Gralapp Christmas Card with LSU Alumni T-Shirts on. Our son John Hatchett and I would fill out the full list of our family Alumni at nine.
This was my first chance to see the new Billy Cannon statue erected on Champions Plaze outside the West Entrance to Tiger Stadium.It is an amazing sculpture in brass of Billy, our only Heisman Trophy winner, who led us to a National Championship sixty years ago when I was a freshman at LSU. Here was a man who competed in the SEC for shot putt and the 100-yard dash as well as playing halfback and defensive back on the football team! The statue shows Billy running a route with a football in his left hand, cutting to his left to evade a tackler, all this without a helmet or pads on so you can see his strong, athletic body.
Our next stop on the way to the Pete Maravich Assembly Center was the lair of Mike the Tiger and on this frigid day, Mike was on the prowl, walking quickly from one side of his large caged area to the other, making it a challenge for me to maneuver my new camera for a clear shot. I used to be able to place my telephoto lens through the wire mesh to get a clear shot, but this new Mike must be stronger than previous ones as they have added a second and stronger mesh to protect Auburn, Alabama, and Ole Miss fans from being eaten as they walk past his lair.
After the graduation, we adjourned to Ruth's Chris Steak house for dinner thanks to Wes Gralapp, Thomas's proud father. Wes' Uncle William and his wife Diana joined the table, together with Thomas's friend since childhood, Lucy (another LSU grad). His daughter Katie was there with her husband Stephen, who seemed more voluble than usual. I thought it was because they had found a baby-sitter for their three little ones and were alone for a change, but Stephen said something like, "It's just the whiskey talking."Thank you Kim, for bringing into existence this wonderful Gralapp family and sharing them with your mom and me!
ONE MORE BIT OF FOLDEROL:
My friend Barrett in Edmonton directed me to listen to his favorite radio station in Alberta, CKUA. While waiting for Barrett's program to come on, the station was playing some obscure Canadian Cowboy Western stuff. I was using my LapTop to listen on-line to the radio, and while the Western music was being played my LT commented upon my selection of music this way: "Norton is currently performing background tasks while your computer is idle." Idle is the nicest thing one might say about this chinky-chank cowboy music.
Finally Barrett's sponsored program began. In parallel I watched our New Orleans Saints whip the Bucs, our Pelicans whip the Pistons, and our LSU Tigers Basketball team whip Incarnate Word by 40 points. These showed on three TVs in our Screening Room, while on the other TV, streaming from my Laptop, I listened to CKUA stream Duke Ellington, Stan Kenton, and Ira Gershwin playing their long compositions, all cued up by the OLD disc jockey John Worthington in Alberta. Thanks. Barnett, you have brought a touch of class to this bayou-born and bred Cajun.
CRYSTAL SYMPHONY IN THE PENTHOUSE
Our previous cruises on Crystal have usually been on deck 9, but this is the first time we had a Penthouse on Deck 9. It is also the first Crystal cruise we have taken with another couple. Ron and Cathy, two of our Burgundian friends signed up for the same cruise after we told them what we liked about Crystal. We heard that they had chosen a Penthouse stateroom and we decided we wanted to see that their Penthouse looked like, well, we got a very close at it. Turns out our two Penthouses shared a double entrance and were side-by-side. They were identical. Compared to our previous staterooms, the Penthouse had a larger bath, big closet area, two desk areas, and a large flat screen TV which could be easily viewed from the bed or the large sofa.Plus it came with a Butler named Ay and whatever we asked of him, he said, "Aye". We were not aware that Ay was not allowed to knock on our door if our "Do Not Disturb" light was lit. After a couple of days, Ay, who also served our neighbors asked about us. That's when we found out why we hadn't seen Ay and turned off the light. Then we began to get a tray of small hors-d'oeuvres in the afternoon to tide over hungry guests and those with late night dinner seating.
The first afternoon we oriented Ron and Cathy to the Symphony. Explained how to avoid the long walks down endless rows of Stateroom doors by taking nearest elevator down to Deck 6 where one can walk to either end of the ship without going out-of-doors or down long corridors. We showed them the Galaxy Theater and Palm Court on one end and the Lido Deck with cafes and pool area on the other end.
CRUISING INTO COSTA MAYA
The Hollywood Movie Theater had a fine line-up of movies for us on this cruise. We began with an Annette Bening portrayal of Gloria Graham, the "Girl who can't say no" from Oklahoma, and in her eighties she still couldn't say no to any guy, but the offers had become fewer and fewer and then she met this 20-something waiter and wannabee actor in Liverpool and fell in love with him. Bening so resembles Graham that they could mix early clips of Graham movies with Bening's performance.
There was a long walk on the dock to the town built up around the new cruise terminal. Costa Maya was the first terminal on Yucatan mainland and now tourists did not have to take a bumpy ferry ride to get to the various Mayan ruins there. I remember Del taking that ferry and asked her, "Why would you get out of a large ship and take a small boat?"She was sorry later, reporting that the water was very rough during the ferry ride. Costa Maya saves folks from that ferry ride now. But we've been to the ruins before and decided to check out the souvenir area near the dock. Luckily there was a free tram that made round trips every 20 minutes.
Del and I were looking for last minute Christmas gifts. She was looking for T-shirts and I wanted to inspect the large Tanzanite jewelry store there. I was hoping to find a set of large Tanzanite earrings for her without her noticing, but she soon found me and took over looking for something she liked. It was like watching her shopping for shoes: she tried on nearly every earring set she saw and decided none of them fit her liking.
The shoreline was rocky with waving crashing over it and pelicans flying near the shore and sitting on a fence. Del stood behind the colorful Costa Maya welcome sign for a photo.
BELIZE CITY, BELIZE
A great spot for snorklers, but Del and I stayed aboard ship.It was a dressy evening and we posed to have our photos taken in the Crystal Cove while the Crystal Showband played Dixieland Jazz for us. The movie was the sequel to "Mamma Mia" with the tag line: "Here We Go Again." Great ABBA songs woven into a movie five years later about the daughter giving birth to her first child and her three fathers returning for the Christening. Her mom (Meryl Streep) had died a year before and her ghost couldn't resist showing up at the church to sing a song with her daughter.
AT THE TENDER MERCY OF ROATAN
The sea was calm, so we decided to take the Tender into the Souvenir area of Roatan. Del was attracted to the Fish Therapy area where this couple was having a grand time allowing these minnow-sized fish to nipple on the dead skin of their feet. So Del took off her shoes and socks and dipped her feet into one of the glass aquariums and soon a well-schooled group of fish were tickling the bottom and sides of her feet.
Back on board, we went to this evening movie and wished we hadn't. We watched the movie "The Mercy" in the Hollywood Theater, only bummer of the on-board movies we saw. Another true story in graphic detail better left untold. A Mr. Crouchback, inventor and wannabee sailor, had a special trimaran built to sail himself solo around the world. He didn't allow enough time to complete all the details of the ship, and, like a kingdom lost because a horseshoe comes off, his boat lacked the right seal and he spent most of the first days at sea bailing out a hull to stay afloat. Then it got worse and he was so far behind, he lied about his position, and soon he was all over the British papers about being in the lead ahead of the four other racing boats. Obviously he was not going to make it around the world, so he stopped sending reports and hoped to limp home in second place so no one would care about his ship's log.Unfortunately he found out he was to be the only finisher and that finished him. A sad ending to an over-courageous inventor and under-equipped sailor. Del and I wanted to be home after the movie so we could stream an episode of Blue Bloods which always has a happy ending to enjoy before we drop off to sleep.
We had taken a long tour around Cozumel a couple of years ago, going to the Mayan Chocolate Factory and the Tequila Factory and the ruins of the center of ancient Mayan culture. That allowed us to enjoy a nice day aboard ship. In the afternoon, there was the Mozart Tea in the Palm Court which we enjoyed. We had to split up with Ron and Cathy due to a full house, but we sat with Carolyn and Jimmy and enjoyed their company.
ROCKING AND ROLLING ALL THE WAY HOME
On the last day of the cruise, we were heading back to New Orleans across the deep Gulf of Mexico and we hit heavy seas and a 50-knot wind from due west. The heavy seas began as we passed between Cuba's Pintar del Rias and the tip of the Yucatan penninsula that evening. The ship felt several times like a freight train had slammed into its side, probably due to some large roller waves. We managed to get to sleep but by morning Del had gotten seasick and I stayed in the stateroom all day with her. Our butler Ay was a lifesaver that day, bringing us whatever we needed. It was a very busy day for the entire crew tending to sick passengers, cleaning up rooms, and bringing them food and seasick medicine. All activities on the top decks of the Lido and Spa were canceled because of the rolling of the ship.
By the next nightfall the seas were still rocking with 50-knot winds. Only after we entered the Mississippi River did the winds subside and the ship settled down for the passage up to New Orleans. The Captain had diverted us to the east of our planned course through the Gulf to miss some of the bad weather and that delayed our arrival by an hour or two. This gave me a chance to grab some daylight shots of the city's skyline as we approached from the South.
Due to heavy port traffic, we were moved from the Erato Cruise terminal to Poland Avenue about ten miles downriver where a large tent was set up for us. We were in no condition to pack our bags the night before and the later arrival gave us a chance to pack up in the morning and simply carry our bags with us through customs out to the Taxi area outside the tent and on to home.In some fifteen years of cruising, this was the worst sea conditions we had ever encountered. We were glad we had a sturdy ship and capable captain at the helm.
The night we arrived home the local Santa Claus parade passed in front of out home. The next day our daughter Carla arrived with Patrick from Beaumont and we had a good time visiting with them and opening our gifts for each other. After they left, we loaded up gifts for our other Matherne children, grandkids, and great-grandkids and headed to join Carla and Pat at our grand-daughter Jennifer's home.
This was Jennifer's first family Christmas gathering and it took place at her and Anthony's new home along Bayou St. John. It was great having my three daughters all together for the holidays, Maureen, Carla, and Yvette. All of Maureen's family was there except for her grandson Ben Huber who was at his father's for Christmas.
The first big event of the evening was the Saints-Steelers football game. It was a tight game, but Drew brought us back into the lead and finished the game out with our favorite play: the Victory Formation, that is, taking a knee as the time ran out! Everyone stood up and cheered with their arms in the air, including me, so the photographer missed the celebration shot, but like any intrepid photographer I asked everyone to do a reprise of the celebration moment and everyone readily obliged!
Then came the gift exchange my daughters dubbed the Caucasian Pachyderm event, aka White Elephant Exchange.Jennifer led the exchange of $10 gifts and several were funny and several were gross, like remote controlled rat and the Potty Golf game. The most fun was the five five-fingered hands which fit over a person's fingers. Our ggson Preston claimed he could count up to twenty-five on his fingers. Then he sat next to his great-uncle Greg and maneuvered his tiny hand with the middle finger raised next to Greg's gift, a full-size hand with one finger raised. It was a raucous fun time for all. Yvette and Greg came to Timberlane with their two kids Aidan and Evelyn for the night and left the next morning. Then Del and I packed up gifts for the Richards Christmas Eve gathering at her brother Dan's home in Mandeville. Unfortunately Dan and Karen's out-of-state kids, like our sons Robie in San Francisco and Jim in Denver, couldn't make it to town, but we did get a chance over Face Time to talk to five-year-old Annabelle in Boston who really likes her Uncle Bobby.
The next morning Del and I opened our Christmas gifts to each other and then packed up once more to head to our son John's house in Baton Rouge.The most fun was the two pet Raptors that Del had given our grandsons. About four inches high, these tiny raptors looked fierce but cuddly, a weird combination. They responded to touch and to blowing in their face, various other moves like a slapping sound and being held upside down. Sort of an AI miniature dog; a Chia pet with moves. We enjoyed some gumbo and desserts before heading home from an exhausting but delightful Christmas season.
LAST MINUTE EVENTS
One final celebration to close out the month was our newest great-grandson James Michael Upton's first birthday. His birthday coincides with his late great-great-grandfather Dick Richards' 101 birthday. Del and I had planned to attend the birthday in Alexandria, a short 4 hour drive upstate, but the work I'm doing right now tickling the keyboard with our Personal Notes wouldn't get done if I were with Del now. As soon as I finish this last paragraph or two, I will begin moving some of the 200 photos from this month into place in DW#191, the January Issue for the New Year of 2019.IMPORTANT MESSAGE:
EVERY GOOD THING, EVEN A YEAR, MUST COME TO A NEW BEGINNING
The month of December kept us in a tizzy of activity. Hope you had a wonderful December wherever you live. We have enjoyed a great run to the Super Bowl by our New Orleans Saints NFL football team. Gaining home field advantage for the rest of the playoff games reminds us of the wonderful 2009 Season after which Tom Benson, bless his soul, hoisted the Vince Lombardy Trophy, pigs flew, and the ghost of Buddy Diliberto wore a woman's dress on a parade down Canal Street! Wherever you live in the world, Del and I would like to wish you and yours a very HAPPY NEW YEAR OF 2019! May the football players you pull for in the Super Bowl wear Black and Old Gold and sport a Fleur-de-Lis on their helmets! Remember: This Ain't Our First Rodeo! We're the Who Dats Who Done Dat Before!
HERE'S OUR EARNEST WISH FOR THE FIRST MONTH OF THIS GOD-GIVEN NEW YEAR OF 2019:
MAY THE WORLD REMAIN PEACEFUL AND SERENE IN THE UPCOMING NEW YEAR OF TWENTY-NINETEEN!
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Quotes Selected from quotes.htm this month:
Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
— Harold Whitman
A government can be compared to our lungs. Our lungs are best when we don't realize they are helping us breathe. It is when we are constantly aware of our lungs that we know they have come down with an illness.
They defend their errors as if they were defending their inheritance.
— Edmund Burke, Irish born English Statesman and Author
~^~ Below are Four of Bobby's Published Books. Click to Read Them.
Movies we watched this past month:Notes about our movies: Many of the movies we watch are foreign movies with subtitles. After years of watching movies in foreign languages, Arabic, French, Swedish, German, British English, Russian, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and many other languages, sometimes two or three languages in the same movie, the subtitles have disappeared for us. If the movie is dubbed in English we go for the subtitles instead because we enjoy the live action and sounds of the real voices so much more than the dubbed. If you wonder where we get all these foreign movies from, the answer is simple: NetFlix. For a fixed price a month they mail us DVD movies from our on-line Queue, we watch them, pop them into a pre-paid mailer, and the postman effectively replaces all our gas-consuming and time-consuming trips to Blockbuster. To sign up for NetFlix, simply go to http://www.netflix.com/ and start adding all your requests for movies into your personal queue. If you've seen some in these movie blurbs, simply copy the name, click open your queue, and paste the name in the Search box on NetFlix and Select Add. Buy some popcorn and you're ready to Go to the Movies, 21st Century Style. You get to see your movies as the Director created them NOT-edited for TV, in full-screen width, your own choice of subtitles, no commercial interruptions, and all of the original dialogue. Microwave some popcorn and you're ready to Go to the Movies, 21st Century Style. With a plasma TV and Blu-Ray DVD's and a great sound system, you have theater experience without someone next to you talking on a cell phone during a movie plus a Pause button for rest room trips.Hits (Watch as soon as you can. A Don't Miss Hit is one you might otherwise have missed along the way.):
P. S. Ask for Blu-Ray movies from NetFlix, and if it says DVD in your Queue, click and select Blu-Ray version."The Last Kingdom" (2018) The Kingdom that will Last was welded together by the hyphenated man Uhtred, born Saxon, raised Dane, and straddled both sides of the Anglos, from the Danish mainland, and the Saxons in the islands. He was a heathen who worshiped the gods and a christian who worshiped one god, he fought and killed men on both sides of a great divide of culture and beliefs, and disappeared from history into the Great Hyphen which first divided two peoples into warring camps and then welded the survivors into a great peaceful kingdom of Anglo-Saxons. "Destiny is All." A DON'T MISS HIT! ! ! ! ! ! !
"Springsteen on Broadway" (2018) telling and singing his life story in a love song to America. A DON'T MISS HIT !
"The Miracle Season" (2018) Hunt and Hurt star in this movie which makes volleyball seem exciting. Team loses star and first 15 games and only a miracle can save their season!
"Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again" (2018) If you like ABBA, you will love this sequel, like the segue into Fernando, just to name one thing. A DON'T MISS HIT! ! ! ! !
"Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool" (2017) especially not Ado Annie aka Gloria Graham, but she does fall in love one last time in this tour de force by Annette Bening. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
"On Chesil Beach" (2018) young couple get engaged, married, and on honeymoon are unable to consummate their marriage due to her fears of sex. Will they stay in love as she promised? We faced forward from 1960s to 2007 and find out.
"Krystal" (2018) us a Sparkling, Unexpected Treat! Crazy, laugh-aloud hilarious at many times, poignant at others. Skip the trailers and blurb or you might miss this DON'T MISS HIT! ! ! ! !
"A Dangerous Method" (2011) story of Jung using Freud's dangerous method of psychoanalysis. Jung and Freud form a secret symmetry with Sabrina Spielrein which validates both their methods and drives the three apart. DON'T MISS HIT! ! ! ! !
"Dear Santa" (2011) a letter to Santa flies out of postman's sack into Crystal path and suddenly her life of shopping and lattes takes on meaning.
"Law-Abiding Citizen" (2009) Butler vs. Foxx in a hot battle of wits and one of them is going to fry.
"Angels in the Snow" (2015) arrive to save a family in distress and give them a Christmas they will always remember. Best new Christmas movie we saw this year. A DON'T MISS HIT ! !
"Sword of Honour" (2001) Daniel Craig is WWII British Commander in this dark Evelyn Waugh epic.
"Life on the Line" (2016) Travolta and Sharon Stone, one starring, one cameo, in this true story of brave workers on high-voltage power lines as they fight to save the lives of their customers after outages. A DON'T MISS HIT ! !
Misses (Avoid At All Costs): We attempted to watch these this month, but didn't make it all the way through on most of them. Awhile back when three AAAC horrors hit us in one night, I decided to add a sub-category to "Avoid at All Costs", namely, A DVD STOMPER. These are movies so bad, you don't want anyone else to get stuck watching them, so you want to stomp on the disks. That way, if everyone else who gets burnt by the movie does the same, soon no copies of the awful movie will be extant and the world will be better off."A Christmas Prince" (2018) started fine but we ditched when it filled with ugly people.
"The Lighthouse" (2018) Two men go crazy in the lighthouse. Some true stories are better left untold.
"Polina" (2017) Operation inscrutable!
Your call on these your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:"Lean on Pete" (2018) a sad story about 15-year-old Charley with no mom who loses his dad to an irate Samoan husband, and must find a way to drive and then walk himself and a worn-out race horse named Lean on Pete from Portland, Oregon to find his Aunt Margy in Wyoming.
"The Mercy" (2018) Colin Firth wastes his talents on this prevaricator navigator who cannot tell the truth to save his own life. A lugubrious trek around the world in his own imagination and a race to lose the race.
"The Land of Steady Habits" (2018) Anders returns home and tries to keep his head above water.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Le Broussard Cajun Cottage, drawn by and Copyright 2011 by Paulette Purser, Used by Permission
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Dugas, Broussard's pal, married a young gal Clothilde who was a waitress in Mulate's bar. Broussard told me, "Clothilde is very jealous and very suspicious of Dugas, and dat, mon Cher, dat can be a dangerous combination." I said, "Broussard, what you mean by dat?" and here's the story he told me:
Wahl, take for example last week. Clothilde came home a little earlier than usual that night. She went to their bedroom and quietly opened the door. From under the blanket in the dim light she saw four legs instead of two, two feet were pointed up and two down. Quietly closing the door, she said under her breath, "Ah knew dat Dugas was a rat and now Ah done caught him in the act!"
She found a baseball bat in the closet next to the door, took it out, and softly re-entered the bedroom. Then Clothilde started hitting the couple under the blanket as hard as she could.
She left the room with the covered bodies groaning and moaning, and went to the kitchen to pour herself a glass of Jack Daniels. When she opened the door to the kitchen, there was Dugas sitting at the table, reading the Racing Form.
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5. Recipe for January, 2019 Quick Cream of Broccoli Soup from Chef Bobby Jeaux:
(click links to see photo of ingredients, preparation steps)
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =Quick Cream of Broccoli Soup
Each winter I grow some cold weather veggies. This year it was broccoli and cabbage. The broccoli is delicious and is the first one ripening. I have made broccoli soup which is great in cold weather, but it requires a lot of time, preparation, and clean-up. When I discovered Cream of Broccoli soup in the market, I saw a great chance to make a quick, delicious soup without all the extra steps and clean-up.
A large head of broccoli florets
Two cans of Cream of Broccoli Soup
Clean the broccoli and open the two cans of soup.
Cut away the broccoli florets and chop up the remain broccoli stalks. Cover 2/3ds with water and boil until the stalks are tender. Add the two cans of Cream of Broccoli soup. (Cream of Mushroom may be substituted.)
Let the mixture cool for about 30 minutes, then add to Blender and blend until pureed.
Serve while still hot. Can be stored in fridge and reheated when needed.
If you have two heads, puree both of them and save on in a freezer bag. But always re-puree when you add the Cream of Broccoli soup to remove the small chunks in the canned soup before serving.
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6. POETRY by BOBBY from The Karma of Untruthfulness:
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The theme of "Karma of Untruthfulness" will seem familiar in 2019 with our national focus on "Fake News", for what is fake news but the "fog of untruth" thrown about the news media as truth. Here's how Rudolf Steiner summarized it in a Lecture he gave on January 15, 1917:
[page 136] Only if hearts exist which see things in their true guise and penetrate that terrible fog of untruth which shrouds everything in the world today, can we progress in an appropriate way.
It struck me as I read the above passage that it possessed a certain lyrical flair that could be captured in verse.
Hearts Are WiseHearts are wise most verily
Who see the world in its true disguise,
Hearts are wisest when they see
The world through the fog which hides,
Hearts prepared this proper way
Prosper in the world today.
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7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for January:
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =For our Good Readers, here are the reviews and articles featured this month. The first and second reviews this month will be ones which were never published in early DIGESTWORLD ISSUES and will be of interest to our DIGESTWORLD Readers. The rest of the items will be new additions to the top of A Reader's Journal, Volume 2, Chronological List, new additions to A Reader's Treasury, or Essays previously unpublished.
1.) ARJ2: The Origins of Natural Science by Rudolf Steiner
In the final words of these lectures, Steiner tells us that he "did not want to describe the development of natural science in recent times in a merely documentary fashion." Instead he wanted to show us "the standpoint of a human being who comprehends this natural-scientific development and, in a difficult moment of humanity's evolution, knows the right things to say to himself in regard the progress of mankind." I could not find better words in myself to summarize the theme of this wonderful book than he did in closing his lecture series. Do you, dear Reader, know the "right things to say" during this moment of humanity's evolution as regards the progress of humankind? Why should anyone care? What's this evolution stuff about anyway - didn't that stop when man evolved from apes? Isn't our science today the best science of all possible sciences? All very good questions and ones that Steiner addresses in this lecture series.
As for the question about the best of all sciences, Owen Barfield aptly handles that one in his Introduction when he talks about the Steiner's lectures contained in this book:
[page viii] Their basic argument is that modern science, and the scientism based on it, so far from being the only possible 'reality-principle' is merely one way of conceiving the nature of reality; a way moreover that has arisen only recently and which there is no reason to suppose will last forever.
There was a dichotomy that occurred in the 15th Century between man and nature and our progress in science to date has depended on that dichotomy in order to proceed. Along the way humanity found itself discovering mathematical truths that later nested into physical truths about the world we live in. Barfield tells us that Steiner "found an answer to a question which has puzzled many thinkers: why should mathematics, a seemingly artificial construction of the human brain, have been found an effective key to unlock so many of the secrets of nature?" (page xi) What we are to find is that our fall from "psychic participation in life" was precipitated by the same mathematical mode of thought that will be instrumental in leading us back to a reunion with that same fullness of life. Barfield tells us to expect more details about that aspect in Steiner's lectures published in The Boundaries of Natural Science, which volume is next on my agenda to read and review.
One might expect that Steiner would demean science in these lectures and one would be all wet if one did. On the contrary he leads us to perceive in our modern scientific perceptions the seeds of a new spirituality, and the fruits of a freedom that we could not have achieved but for the scientific path we have trod for almost six centuries.
[page 2] My opinion, based on objective study, is that the scientific path taken by modern humanity was, if rightly understood, not erroneous but entirely proper.
Something important was lost to humanity around the year 1453; what was previously accessible by humankind as shining spirit suddenly returned nothing. This thought occurred to Cusanus (Nicolas of Cusa) while sailing home from Constantinople looking up at the stars. He later wrote about this thought in his book, Docta Ignorantia or On Learned Ignorance. Meister Eckhart also expressed this same thought as, "In all eternity, I must fetch the I from the 'nothingness' of God." In Eckhart's original German writing, there is a parallel literal meaning: the word ich (I) can be fetched from the word Nichts (nothingness).
[page 9] If we go back into earlier times, we find that in former ages it was possible, when the soul turned its gaze inward into itself, to behold the spirit shining forth within.
Thomas Aquinas or John Scotus Erigena in an earlier time would have looked through their soul and found their spirit, their immortal I shining within. Now it was no longer possible to do so. Cusanus was led to nothingness when he sought his spirit, but, being a mathematician, he sought to use his skills in that art to approach the world of spirit. At the same time a new world was approaching humanity from the sensory world, and mathematics was to prove a sturdy bridge between the two worlds: the spiritual world of mathematics and the sensory world of post-15th Century humanity. We can catch a glimpse of modern science in its embryonic form in Cusanus when he proclaimed in 1440, in Steiner's words (page 12), "We must conceive the spirit realm as so far removed from human perception that even mathematics can approach it only with halting symbols." A hundred years later modern science was born when in 1543 Copernicus was able to say with eclat:
[page 12] "Conceive of mathematics as so powerful and reliable that it can force the sense world into mathematical formulas that are scientifically understandable."
In the second lecture Steiner takes us back to ancient Greece where the world of spirit was already beginning to dim to human eyes. In the ancient peoples before Greece they felt themselves pervaded by a spirit that fills the cosmos, they felt themselves to have a messenger from the spiritual cosmos that they called their individual soul, and they felt themselves to have a physical body that was an image of their soul. What formerly humanity had experienced in itself as a living spirit that fills the cosmos, the Greeks could only experience as Logos. Steiner tells us how a lonely disciple of the time would have expressed this experience:
[page 20] "I listen to the silent universe and fetch this Logos-bearing soul out of the silence. I love the Logos because the Logos brings tidings of an unknown god."
The 'unknown god' is the Nichts or nothingness of Meister Eckhart. One result of this devolution of spirit is that the soul moved from being the messenger of spirit to the bearer or carrier of an image of the spirit. The body declined from image of spirit to a force. From this, Steiner says, "The concept of force emerged." Force is one of those things that Newton took for granted that everyone understood and declared them to be postulates from which he started. The world of spirit and soul had become more tenuous and the body became more robust. Forces were seen everywhere in the world and the body. Nature began to be something foreign from man. (Paraphrased from page 21.) Soon the soul came to be experienced as the realm of ideas and the body as spatial corporeality. Here's Steiner's excellent summary of the devolution in three phases:
[page 24] Once upon a time, in the first phase, the soul experienced the spirit's archetype within itself. It saw itself as a the messenger of spirit. In the second phase, the soul inwardly experienced the living image of God in the Logos, it became the bearer of the Logos. Now, in the third phase, the soul becomes, as it were, a vessel for ideas and concepts. These may have the certainty of mathematics, but they are only ideas and concepts.
We have now reached the phase in the 21st Century where the soul comprises the subjective world of our thought and ideas, and the body comprises the objective world of space, time, mass, motion, and forces. This devolution of spirit or progression into scientific thinking is placed in historical time by Steiner thus:
[page 27] We see how the first phase extends to the Eighth Century B. C., to the ancient sage of Southern Europe whom I have described today. The second extends from him to Nicholas Cusanus. We find ourselves in the third phase now. The first is pneumatological, directed to the spirit in its primeval form. The second is mystical, taking the world in the broadest sense possible. The third is mathematical. . . The age of mathematizing natural science proceeds from Cusanus into our time and continues further.
What are we doing today when we use mathematics to express in Cartesian coordinates the three dimensions of space? We are using a way of thinking that is thought-out but not experienced. How would one experience the three dimensions of space? Is that even necessary to consider? If we wish to understand the origins of natural science, it is.
[page 30] Man would have never thought of these [three perpendicular dimensions of space] if he had not experienced a threefold orientation within himself. One orientation that man experiences in himself is from front to back. We need only recall how, from the external modern anatomical and physiological point of view, the intake and excretion of food, as well as other processes in the human organism, take place from front to back. . . . I do something with my right arm and make a corresponding move with my left arm.Here, the processes are oriented to left and right. Finally, in regard to the last orientation, man grows into it during earthly life. In the beginning he crawls on all fours and only gradually stands upright, so that this last orientation flows within him from above downward and up from below.
My wife experiences the three dimensions in this way, which is dramatically different from the bare, bleak mathematical space layout of analytic geometry that her husband was trained in during his college courses studying for his degree in physics. If Steiner's analysis of the experiencing of spatial coordinates from within oneself is too abstract and unreal, he leads us to consider the origin of numbers, such as the number two, which comes from the German word zwei [tsvei]. It is rooted in the processes of entzweien, to "cleave in twain" and zweifeln, "to doubt" or to be two minds of. Our words "double" and "twin" can be seen to originate from doubt and twain.
[pages 32, 33] It is not mere imitation of an external process when the number two, zwei, is described by the word Entzweien, which indicates the disuniting, the splitting, of something formerly a whole. It is in fact something that is inwardly experienced and only then made into a scheme.
If we wish to discover this former way of experiencing reality inward, we have only to go back to the writings of Rene Descartes and Baruch Spinoza. No doubt some of you have already read their writings and are of the opinion that no such description exists in their writings. If so, perhaps you were looking to find the new (your way of thinking) in the old when you read them. Steiner leads us rather to understand how to find in the old (their way of thinking) the beginnings of what we call the new.
[page 33] Immerse yourself in these thinkers, not superficially as is the practice today when one always wants to discover in the thinkers of old the modern concepts that have been drilled into our heads, but unselfishly, putting yourself mentally in their place. You will find that even Spinoza still retained something of a mystical attitude toward the mathematical method.
Steiner says that running in a triangle gives one a completely different experience in the blood from running in a square. During the pre-Renaissance time when "soul still felt movement as a mathematical experience and blood as a mystical experience" no one could have conceived of the orbits of the planets traversing a system of abstract coordinates.In the time of Harvey, a contemporary of Francis Bacon, the circulation of the blood was beginning to be understood as physical circulation with the heart in the center, just as the planets were soon to be understood as a physical circulation with the Sun in the center. The very idea of the Renaissance as an abstract label applied to a confluence of new ideas, of new ways of interpreting what had formerly been a direct inner experience, was made possible by humanity developing the ability to divorce concepts from a direct experience of the blood. The idea of the Renaissance just being a period of history just sitting back in time is like the Copernican coordinates divorced from the heart experience just sitting out in space. R. G. Collingwood said that all history is the history of thought. One can see that, not only was natural science affected by this dramatic change in 1453 AD, but even the way we understand history became changed in the process.
Geometrical and arithmetic forms were once experienced directly in the blood as intense inner experiences. But an amazing thing happened during the Renaissance when abstract coordinates replaced humanity's concept of direct inner experiences.
[page 43] This conception could change into a different one only when men lost their awareness that everything quantitative - including mathematics - is originally experienced by man in direct connection with the universe.
When a mathematician or physicist today has an insight and expresses it in a mathematical formula, they have had a supersensible experience which they communicate to others in a communal language (mathematics). They wonder in amazement when later the real world is found to line-up with their mathematically described world! The reason for amazement can be described simply: the supersensible world is always aligned with the material world or what they call the real world. Steiner helps us, at last, to unravel the knots of this puzzle.
[page 44] The most that can be said of such an imposition of mathematics on natural phenomena is that what has first been mathematically thought out is then found to fit the phenomena of nature. But why this is so can no longer be discovered within this particular world perception.
Steiner describes how Giordano Bruno experienced the Copernican world conception in the old way, within his own being and points to Isaac Newton as the first to truly describe the new conception of the world based on abstract mathematics. As such Steiner takes his place alongside Dr. Andrew J. Galambos in paying respect to Newton for being the originator of modern science.
[pages 47, 48] Newton is pretty much the first to approach the phenomena of nature with abstract mathematical thinking. Hence, as a kind of successor to Copernicus, Newton becomes the real founder of modern scientific thinking.
[page 50] In fact, in Newton's physics we meet for the first time ideas of nature that have been completely divorced from man. . . . By Newton's time mathematics has become abstracted. Man has forgotten that originally he received mathematics as an inspiration from God.
Later Newton was to feel uncomfortable with his tearing man completely away from the spirit, and in his book Optics talked about space as the "sensorium of God." Bishop Berkeley in a similar manner rejected the ideas of infinitesimals, regarding them as a loss of reality, since the only thing that existed for him was what could be experienced. The mathematical processes of differentiating and integrating, in Steiner's view, are similar to what one might do if one were to chop a living human body into small pieces (differentiate) and then place the pieces back together as if it were a jigsaw puzzle (integrate).
[pages 54,55] To differentiate is to kill; to integrate is to piece the dead together again in some kind of framework, to fit the differentials together again into a whole. But they do not thereby become alive again, after having been annihilated. One ends up with dead spectres, not with anything living.
One might think that Steiner had little respect for science, but that would be wrong. He had a great respect for and understanding of the evolution of consciousness. He knew that people "like to regard as great thinkers those men who have said something or that they approve. But if the great men also said something they do not approve, they feel very superior and think: Unfortunately, on this point he wasn't as enlightened as I am." (pages 56,57) Having grown up in a culture completely divorced from the spirit since the last vestiges of understanding spirit disappeared with Bruno, Berkeley, and Newton, we exude a hubris about our world, up until now. It does not serve us well. Unless we let go of our myopic attitude of superiority, we will not be able to find collectively the spirit in nature, that same spirit that each of us will find individually upon our death. What is the value of science as we know today, according to Steiner?
[page 57] Things that can only be learned from a corpse cannot be learned by a person who is unwilling to examine the corpse. Therefore certain mysteries of the world can be comprehended only if the modern scientific way of thinking is taken seriously. . . . The scientific world view must be taken seriously, and for this reason I was never an opponent of it; on the contrary, I regarded it as something that of necessity belongs to our time. . . . It was the misinterpretation of such scientific discoveries that I opposed.
One example of misinterpretation that Steiner describes in detail is the atomism of living beings or the cell theory of Schleiden and Schwann in the early 19th Century. This atomism or dividing things up into cells is equivalent to killing the very thing we're trying to understand, namely, life. "The truth of the matter is that any real idea of organisms has been lost to the atomistic approach." (page 70)
[page 81] Therefore, in spite of its great achievements we can say that science owes its greatness to the fact that it has completely missed the essential nature of man.
In case, you dear Reader, want evidence that we are still "missing the essential nature of man" take a look at this quote from a well-known scientist of our day, Richard Dawkins: "If you want to understand life, don't think about vibrant, throbbing gels and oozes, think about information technology."
To help us understand our modern sciences of physics and chemistry, Steiner takes us back for physics to our earlier understanding of motion in its internal human experience, for chemistry to our internal human experience of "throbbing gels and oozes" to use Dawkins' derisive terms. The Table below appears on page 93 and I've added for completeness the sciences of psychology and pneumatology.The latter is the now defunct science of the spirit. Defunct I define operationally as: cannot be found in the Encyclopedia Britannica or many dictionaries. It means the science of the spirit, which Steiner says has been reduced to almost nothing, a jot in the footnotes of science today, "the mere dot of the ego." (page 107) Physics is the most abstract science it is the most separated from human existence, and as a result, it consists of laws that are exact and universally applicable. Chemistry on the other hand can never be completely separated from the gels and oozes of human life, and as such will never be able to reach the status of physics because it is not "possible to take as much of the etheric body into the external world as was accomplished in the physical body."
One way to interpret the above Table to take it as a key to understanding how knowledge of the science in the fourth column amounts to an inner experience of the body listed in the third column. Physics is the inner experience of our physical body abstracted mathematically into laws. Chemistry is the inner experience of our etheric body abstracted to the degree possible into forms approximating laws. Psychology, the inner experience of our Astral body of thoughts and feelings. And Pneumatology, that almost non-existent science, the inner experience of our immortal spirit in our "I" or Ego organization. Here's how Steiner describes the components of the Table.
[page 107] All this took the place of what had been experienced as a unity, when men of old said: We have four elements, earth, water, air, and fire. Earth we experience in ourselves when we experience the physical body. Water we experience in ourselves when we experience the etheric body as the agent that moves, mixes, and separates the fluids. Air is experienced when the astral body is experienced in thinking, feeling, and willing, because these three are experienced as surging with the inner breathing process. - Finally, warmth (or fire, as it was then called) was experienced in the sensation of the ego.
The Four Sciences Table Warmth Blood Ego Organization Pneumatology Air Pneuma Astral Body Psychology Water Phlegm Etheric Body Chemistry Earth Black Gall Physical Body Physics
Again we find that our science of today is rife with misinterpretation of the human body. We find wonderful photos of the organs of the body in full color, layered over one another so that one can see how the organs are aligned in space from front to back. What's missing, however, is the essential nature of the etheric body: the throbbing gels and flowing oozes.
[page 110] Laymen see the pictures and have the impression that this is all they need to understand the body. But this is misleading. It is only one tenth of man. The remainder ought to be described by drawing a continuous stream of fluids interacting in the most manifold ways in the stomach, liver, and so forth. Quite erroneous conceptions arise as to how man's organism actually functions, because only the sharply outlined organs are observed.
So far, one might argue, Steiner has not said much that is good about modern science, nothing that would indicate why he even respects it. Anyone who has read Steiner's classical book The Philosophy of Freedom (1898) knows that freedom is something that Steiner knows something about. Keep that in mind as you read his words about the impact that modern science has had on freedom.
[page 114] The development towards freedom, for example, would never have occurred had the ancient experience of physics, chemistry, psychology, and pneumatology survived. Man had to lose himself as an elemental being in order to find himself as a free being. He could only do this by withdrawing from himself for a while and paying no attention to himself any longer. . . . During this interim, when man took the time to develop something like the feeling of freedom, he worked out the concepts of science; these concepts that are, in a manner of speaking, so robust that they can grasp nature. Unfortunately, however, they are too coarse for the being of man.
Science brought us to a feeling for freedom, but the very modes of thought that led us to grasp the natural world in a robust manner were too coarse to allow us to understand the human being, up until now. To truly understand science, we must look to the parallel evolution of our consciousness and the freedom that accompanied it.
What's this all about? some of you may be asking. Where do we go from here with all these insights into how science evolved to where it is by distancing itself from a direct experience of the human being as much as possible?
[page 126] And infinitely much needs to be set right, particularly in the domain of science. Natural science has grown tall; it is like a nice teenager, who at the moment is going through his years of unpolished adolescence, and whose guidance must be continued so that he will become mature.
This will only come about if the "anthroposophical way of thinking is applied to science." What is needed is for people who are schooled in the natural sciences to learn to add anthroposophical ways of understanding the world to their school-taught knowledge of chemistry and physics. Just as ordinary perception is enough to enable anyone to discern the difference between a corpse and a living human being, so also ordinary perception is enough to allow one to "analyze properly the true facts of today's physics and chemistry." (page 127)
When we cooperate to achieve this goal, we will return to our earlier understandings of the world, but in a new way, infused with the insights of modern science and with the new-found consciousness of freedom that we have evolved in the only way possible: by straying from our inner experiences to develop a robust understanding of the world in which we live.
2.) ARJ2: Secret Brotherhoods and the Mystery of the Human Double by Rudolf Steiner
This is another amazing book of insights shared with us by Rudolf Steiner. We learn how an ahrimanic double is born in human beings and the destruction it brings to the world. How certain brotherhoods mine the insights of recently dead members to further their goals for power. How the way we deal with our deceased loved one can bring us disease or health. In this review I can only offer my extract of insights offered by Steiner in his seven lectures. Like any extract, this will seem bitter if one tries to ingest it directly one must dilute it with the liquids of thoughtfulness to bring out the full flavor of the insights contained in the book. Or better yet, read the entire book.
Materialistic or earthly sciences end their study of the human being when the body dies. Spiritual science picks up its study of the human at that point and is our only source of information and data. Baconian science can not study what happens to the human being when the body dies because it has restricted itself to dealing only with sensory data the tapestry of the natural world behind which one finds spiritual realities it must exclude any other sources of data as fantasy or illusions. Steiner knew this about science and spoke of it frequently because he was a scientist of the earthly sciences as well as spiritual science. He knew his audience consisted of people educated in the earthly sciences. As a result, he offered them factual knowledge of the spiritual world to supplement their factual knowledge of the material world. And that knowledge takes its point of departure from the earthly sciences by focusing its study at the point when the human body dies. The human body dies, but the spirit lives on.
It is interesting to me that we have in English a word to describe existence in the time between birth and death, mainly, the verb "live," but we have no word to describe existence in the time between death and a new birth. Perhaps if we were to create a verb for that period of time between death and a new birth, it would facilitate us being able to coherently talk about it without using the awkward phrase "the period of time between death and a new birth." The phrase presupposes a non-existent condition because the materialistic connotations of the word "death" itself. I pondered over this conundrum for some time, and came up with a possible solution: press the noun, "spirit" into usage as a verb. The first definition (noun) is quoted from Cassel's Concise Dictionary (1997) for the noun form and the second is my definition of the verb form:
spirit (spir' it) n. a rational being unconnected with a physical body.
spirit (spir' it) v.i. exist as a human being unconnected with a physical body.
With this new usage of spirit as a verb, we can say that earthly science studies how the human being lives and spiritual science studies how the human being spirits. We live during the time between death and a new birth, while in the time between death and a new birth, we spirit, i. e., living ceases and spiriting begins. While both earthly science and spiritual science have a lot to say about what we do while we are living, spiritual science is our sole source of information of what we do while we are spiriting. As human beings we alternate between living and spiriting and it behooves us to learn as much as we can about both processes.
[page 18] Once this has been established there can be a real penetration into realms where it can be said that death is the starting-point, just as birth and youth is the starting-point for the earthly sciences. But it has to be made clear that the death referred to is not the death that brings to an end what can be seen externally by the senses, which is how it is usually regarded. The death in question is a part of existence, just as the forces which are brought into life by birth are a part of existence. We encounter death not only as a one-off event, for we carry the forces of death of destruction within us just as much as we carry within us the forces of birth, those forces given to us at birth, which are forces of construction.
Steiner takes us to the border of earthly and spiritual science and helps us to resolve the confusion between thinking in the brain and experiences in the soul. The earth sciences take us on a muddy path when they claim that all thinking stems from our brain and only while we are alive. They are focusing on the tracks left by the thinker and ignoring the thinker.
[page 19] Those, however, who learn to perceive soul life by means of soul organs, spirit eyes or ears, such as I described in principle earlier on, those who really discover what soul life is, know that to call the brain a tool for thinking is just like talking about walking along a muddy path and leaving footprints there which someone coming along later tries to explain. How does he explain them? By saying that down in the depths of the earth there are forces that vibrate up and down and thus produce the footprints. The footprints, however, were not caused by those forces at all, but by me when I walked there.
Thinking as described by materialistic sciences such as physiology are correct so far as they go, but they don't go far enough. They can make electroencephalograms (eegs) which show the tracks of a human brain's thinking, but those are merely the muddy footprints left behind by the thinkers, not the thoughts themselves.
[page 19, 20] This is how physiologists today explain that what takes place in the brain is generated by the brain, and there is indeed something in the nervous system that corresponds to every thought and idea, every feeling. Just as my footprints correspond with where I have trodden, so is there something in the brain that does correspond with every impression encountered by the soul. But it is the soul that has impressed it upon the brain. The earth is just as little the organ for my treading or my footprints, it is just as little what produces them as the brain is the organ for all kinds of thought or ideation processes. I cannot walk without the ground, for I cannot walk in the air; I need the ground to walk on.And the brain is needed for the same reason, not because it produces the soul impressions but because the soul processes need the firm foundation upon which to express themselves during the period when the human being lives in a body between birth and death.
The way that physiologists imagine thoughts occur is as upside-down in our time as the way people thought the Sun moved around the Earth in pre-Copernican times. It is time for a revolution, Steiner avers, that will be as dramatic as the Copernican revolution was in its time. People will come to understand the brain is not the originator of thoughts, but the muddy path upon which thoughts remain behind. The brain operates in synchronism with the soul and, just as a muddy path, is progressively destroyed by foot traffic and cart traffic and must be re-built, so also must the nervous system be re-built constantly when the destructive activity over its pathways occur.
[page 20] There is also another aspect. As we continue along the path of soul research we find that the processes in the brain and nervous system corresponding with the life of the soul are, in fact, not constructive processes; they do not arise on account of there being constructive, thriving, flourishing processes in the nervous system such as those present in the rest of the organism. No, indeed. What the soul carries out in the nervous system is a destructive activity; while we are awake and conscious, and not asleep, it is a destructive activity. Only because our nervous system is embedded in us in such a way that it is constantly refreshed by the rest of our organism can the destructive, decomposing and demolishing activity which thinking lets loose on our nervous system be ever and again counteracted. It is a destructive activity of a quality exactly equivalent to that experienced all in one go when the human being dies, whereupon the whole of the organism disintegrates. Death lives in us constantly so long as we use our powers of thinking. In tiny amounts it is constantly within us, and the one-off event that is death is merely a summation of what is constantly at work in us. Although the dying is continuously being balanced out, this balancing is such that when the time comes death can take place as a matter of course.
Our modern day science is correct in its observations and deductions therefrom, but it does not go far enough to view the whole picture for the simple reason that it has, since Bacon's time, restricted itself to sensibly perceptual data. The processes of soul and spirit which arise anew during thinking, e.g., are not sensibly observable, but are super-sensibly observable. And with the addition of the super-sensible data which Steiner provides us, a complete understanding of the processes of the human being are possible, just as in earlier times, the mathematical data of Tycho Brahe, Copernicus, and others led to a complete understanding of the positions of planets in our solar system.Mathematical data represented super-sensible data to the large majority of people of the time because they were uneducated in the realm of higher mathematics. They had to accept what those who were capable of such mathematics reported to them. Each leap in human evolution begins with us being made aware of super-sensible processes at work in our world. It happened with Pasteur's pointing to microscopic bacteria as the cause of disease, Salk's pointing to a virus as the cause of polio, and so on. These super-sensible agents of disease became available when human beings created instruments for viewing and detecting the previously super-sensible data which was present. Rudolf Steiner has shown us that the human being is such an instrument for detecting the super-sensible processes of the world around us. And he is talking of the soul processes of Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition for which our microscopes, oscilloscopes, and various man-made devices for measuring sensory data are totally inadequate. These are processes which reveal a world which is not measurable or viewable as sensory data, but instead a world which is hidden behind the tapestry of sensory data.
For the human being who is untrained in mathematics, the new world view of Copernicus had to be taken on faith. For the human being trained in mathematics, that world view of planets orbiting the Sun becomes a reality. Similarly, the human being who is untrained in super-sensible sight will have to take Steiner's world view on faith, but anyone who wishes to follow the processes of attaining super-sensible sight, the world Steiner describes will become a reality. The first step into super-sensible sight is the process Steiner calls, Imagination. Through Imagination, we humans are able to view, for example, the processes of destruction at work while we are thinking.
[page 21, 22] It then becomes possible to observe further how the soul element that works and weaves in us and which, within the limitations I have described, brings about destruction, is in fact also a part of an overall whole. What I have termed, 'soul development' pushes forward from ordinary consciousness to spiritual vision as I have written in my book The Riddle of Man. This visionary consciousness makes it possible to attain knowledge through Imagination. Imagination in this sense reveals not what is externally visible to the senses but something that belongs to the human being although it is not physically visible. This element, which is the first thing to be perceived by such newly awakened consciousness, is what I have been referring to recently as the body of formative forces.
This is the supersensible body of the human being which is active throughout our whole life from birth, or one should say from conception, right up to our physical death. It is also the bearer of our memories, and as a supersensible being it is linked to a supersensible world that is external to it. Thus our physical life with its ordinary consciousness is like an island. Around this island and imbuing it lies what links our body of formative forces with the supersensible world by which this body, in its turn, is surrounded. We then see that our world of inner pictures and thoughts, just as I have described it, while being connected to our physical brain that provides it with a firm ground to stand on, is in fact carried by the body of formative forces. This is the bearer of our thinking, and our thoughts are formed within this body of formative forces, so that in the activity of thinking the human being lives within this body of formative forces.
The body of formative forces is also called by Steiner in other places the etheric body or the life body. This refers to an entity visible to supersensible sight, namely, that of Imagination, which disappears shortly after death and dissolves into the cosmos at which time the etheric body as "bearer of our thinking" gives up to the cosmos all these memories to the cosmos. The portion of the cosmos containing all the memories of living humans is called in the Bible, The Book of Jashar, and in esoteric knowledge, the Akasha or Akashic Record or Akashic Chronicles.
The next level of supersensible entity attached to the human being is called the astral body and it contains our feelings and emotions. To discover the thoughts which fill these feelings and emotions requires a higher level of supersensible perception or soul experience known as Inspiration. This is another human capability of which modern science is as yet unaware. (1)
[page 22, 23] Proceeding now to another soul experience, that of feeling, we discover that things are different. Our feelings and also our emotions and passions do not relate to our life of soul in the way our thinking does. The spiritual researcher finds that the ordinary thoughts we have are attached to the body of formative forces but that this is not the case with our feelings and emotions. Our feelings and emotions live in us in a much more subconscious way; and at the same time they are linked with something much more far-reaching than merely our life between birth and death. I do not mean that we are without thoughts in this aspect of life, for all feelings are also imbued with thoughts. But the thoughts which imbue our feelings do not usually enter our consciousness; they lie below the level of consciousness. As our feelings surge up they are interspersed with thoughts, but these thoughts are more far-reaching, and we can only find them by rising up to a higher form of consciousness than that of Imagination, namely, Inspiration, an inspired consciousness by which I am not referring to anything connected with superstition. You can read about this in detail in my books(2).
The third level is known as Intuition, and along with the other two processes of Imagination and Inspiration, it is capitalized to distinguish it from the mundane processes of the same name.
[page 25] Turning now to the realm of the will, we note that this is very far removed indeed from what human beings have in their ordinary consciousness. What do we know about what goes on inside us when the thought 'I want that' turns into the reaching out of our hand? The actual processes of the will are asleep in the human being. With regard to feelings and emotions we can at least state that in these we dream in ourselves. It is because the will is asleep with regard to ordinary consciousness that the question of freedom is so very fraught. [RJM NOTE: i.e., ... the question of freedom is so heavily laden with unconscious processes.]
We can only reach an understanding of the processes embedded in the will if we apply the spiritual consciousness of genuine Intuition, by which I do not mean the vague and hazy kind of everyday intuitive inkling. In my writings I have referred to the three stages of consciousness: Imagination, Inspiration, Intuition. To get into the realm of the will that ought to work and live in us it first has to be hauled up out of the depths of the soul. One then also finds that this will element, too, is imbued with thought, with spiritual thoughts not ordinary ones which are something separate.
Steiner leads us to understand that Intuition is a direct revelation from the spiritual world, from the world of the Ego or "I" a world of which, like that of the Will, we are completely oblivious, up until now. And Intuition as a gift from the spiritual world is fraught or pregnant with possibilities for spiritual activities which, when applied in our lives, are the essence of human freedom. Humans bring a plan from previous lives into this one and that plan is executed as one would a plan for building a house: one does not consider it an infringement on one's freedom if the house is executed according to one's plan. But one might, if one were unconscious of having made the plan in the first place, which is the case of humans who have no access to Intuition.
[page 25, 26] The way we carry our will within us means that what works into it is not only what we have experienced in the spiritual world or what works into our feelings and emotions between death and a new birth. It is our experiences in former lives on earth that are at work in our will. And at the same time impulses for future lives on earth also live in what we develop and cultivate in our present will.
Genuine spiritual research sees that human life as a whole falls into two parts, those between birth and death, and the much longer ones because the next physical existence has to be prepared over long aeons which are experienced in the spiritual world.Human life as a whole is composed of these lives, lives on earth over and over again, and spiritual lives over and over again. This is not some fantastic notion; it is what we find if we learn to focus our spiritual eyes on all that is eternal, immortal in the human soul.
None of this excludes human freedom. If I build a house this year in which I shall live after two years, this does not detract from my freedom any more than does the way one life on earth determines the lives that will follow. It would be a misconception to put this forward as something that infringes the idea of human freedom.
Everyone has known someone who, in the middle of their lives, suddenly underwent some kind of "conversion" experience. This person led one kind of life before the experience, and suddenly as if compelled to change, an entirely new life style emerges. Steiner tells us that this amazing change comes about as a result of a violent to end to a previous lifetime for that person.
[page 27, 28] When a violent death intervenes in someone's life this has consequences for the next life on earth by bringing it about that at a specific point in that life a change of direction occurs. Research into the life of the soul is going on even now, but on the whole this investigates only the most external aspects. A moment can arrive in a person's life when the whole course of his destiny changes and he steps out on new paths as though inwardly challenged to do so. Such things are termed 'conversions' in America because people like to give things a name. But it is not necessarily always a matter of religion. A person can be forced into a new direction of life, a permanent change in the direction in which his will takes him. A radical change like this in the direction of one's will originates in the violent end of the previous life. How frequently the type of death is of importance especially in the middle of the subsequent life is made obvious to concrete research. If death comes about naturally through sickness or old age, then it has much more importance for the life between death and the next birth than it has for the next earthly life.
When we receive spiritual knowledge of our destiny we begin to comprehend our destiny, we awake to our destiny, we see it in clarity whereas before we saw it as if in some vague dream we forgot about upon arising.
[page 30] From that moment onwards you realize that having this experience of destiny in such a purely spiritual way enables you to explain how destiny has positioned you in life, how one's destiny hangs on threads that have been spun out from former lives on earth as well as lives between death and a new birth, threads that then spin on from this life into the one that follows. You realize that ordinary consciousness merely dreams its way through destiny; ordinary consciousness merely accepts destiny without understanding it, just as one accepts dreams. Spiritual consciousness, in which we wake up as we wake up from dreams into ordinary consciousness, gains us a new relationship to destiny. We recognize destiny as that which works with us on our overall life, the life that proceeds on and on through births and deaths.
Between birth and death we have a consciousness which is spatial, whereas between death and a new birth our consciousness is temporal based on looking backwards at our previous life in the flesh. What we do, what we think about, how we live thus influences directly our experiences as we spirit during the time between death and a new birth.
[page 31] Of course what happens after death is in some way connected with the life we live here in our physical body. Here through our body we have the consciousness of the normal waking state. After death, though, we have a consciousness that is not spatial and founded on our nervous system but temporal and built on looking backwards. We have in our nervous system the counterbalance and counterstroke for our ordinary consciousness between birth and death, whereas the foundation for our consciousness in the spiritual world between death and a new birth is formed by what is already in our consciousness here. Just as we are here surrounded by the world, so, once we have died, does our life present itself before us as an important organ. Therefore much depends on the consciousness we have while we are in our physical body, since this reaches out into the consciousness that comes to meet us after death.
How we exist in the body determines how we will exist in the spirit later. Will we be bound to an earthly environment or will we enter a spiritual environment? The consequences are important, not only to us, but also to those left behind on the Earth because if we remain bound to the Earth, we will operate in a detrimental way. Steiner gives us an example of an atheist, which he calls extreme in his time, but which doesn't seem too extreme some 90 years later in our time, especially given the large number of atheists in the twentieth century and destroyers (e.g. terrorists) in the nascent twenty-first century.
[page 32] Take an extreme case which, however, is not very likely to occur. Think of a person who resists all supersensible ideas, someone who has become an atheist and has not gained even from religion the slightest feeling that he might want to take an interest in such things. (I know that I am speaking in paradoxes, but what I am saying has a good foundation in spiritual science.) Such a person is condemning himself to remain in the sphere of the earth, to remain here with his consciousness, whereas someone who has taken in spiritual ideas can enter into a spiritual environment. The person who has ideas based solely on the senses condemns himself to remain in the sense-perceptible environment.
We can work in a beneficial way when we are in our physical body in the physical world, for here our physical body acts as a protective cloak. But if we remain present in the physical world after death we work in a detrimental way. When our consciousness harbors physical ideas and inner pictures after death we become destroyers. I have already pointed out, in connection with the laws of heredity, how the human being's forces intervene in the physical world even when he is in the spiritual world. Those who cultivate only a physical consciousness and thus condemn themselves to remaining in the physical world become the focus for destructive forces that interfere in what happens in people's lives and in the world at large.
Impressed as you may be by these revelations, you may think that you have experienced none of them personally, unable as you may be to see into the spiritual world, and thus they are worthless to you. Nothing could be further from the truth. Just as a map someone carefully created of the terrain can help you avoid a precipitous fall into an icy fjord on a hiking trip in Norway, so also the map Steiner has created of the spiritual world can benefit you directly.
[page 34] One might easily presume that to be someone who can enter into the spiritual world one must of necessity become a spiritual researcher. This is not necessary, although I have written a great deal in my book How to Know Higher Worlds about what the soul must do in order to enter there. Anyone can do this to some extent today, but not everyone needs to do so. What you develop in your soul is an entirely inner affair; but what it leads to is that the truths being researched can be formulated into concepts, so that you can clothe in thoughts and ideas like those I have put forward today what a spiritual researcher tells you.It is something that can be communicated. One of the laws of spiritual research is that it does not matter whether you have found these things out through your own research or whether you have been informed about them by a reliable source. It is not a matter of finding these things out yourself, for the important thing is that you have them and develop them within yourself.
This next passage caused me to laugh out loud when I reached the end of it. In the story, Steiner illustrates that arguments against spiritual science brought about by materialists and atheists could just as easily be promulgated by any competent spiritual scientist without breaking a sweat. Those who called serious spiritual scientists dilettantes were very likely projecting an unconscious dilettantism of their own upon others. Hoisted on their own petard, they soon discovered that they had called one man both a serious scientist (when he agreed with them) and a dilettante (when he disagreed with them)! NOTE: Although this happened over a hundred and fifty years ago, it is happening yet in 2019 when scientists compose screeds labeling as dilettantes otherwise respected scientists who doubt their adamant claims of the "reality" of global warming.
[page 36, 37] In 1869 Eduard von Hartmann came forward with his Philosophy of the Unconscious, turning against Darwinism, which saw the world purely in external terms, and pointing to the need for inner forces, though he did this in an inadequate, merely philosophical manner having no spiritual research to go on. Those whose enthusiasm focused on Darwinism were of course prepared to call this philosopher a dilettante to whom it was not necessary to listen. Writings were published mocking the dilettante Eduard von Hartmann and stating that there was no call for a genuine scientist to take note of such views.
An anonymous paper appeared with a brilliant refutation of Hartmann's thoughts. The scientists and those who thought as they did were in full agreement with this paper, for it completely refuted Eduard von Hartmann. Everything that could be brought forward in a scholarly manner on the basis of science was indeed brought forward in this paper written by an anonymous author against Hartmann in rather the same way as objections are put forward today against spiritual research. This paper was much applauded. Haeckel intoned: 'Here is a genuine scientist writing to refute that dilettante Hartmann; here we see what a real scientist can do; indeed I could not have written anything better myself; let him come forward and we will accept him as one of our own.' In short, the scientists made a good deal of propaganda about this paper which suited them so well, and it was soon out of print. A second edition was needed, and then the author himself came forward: he was Eduard von Hartmann!
In Lecture 2, Steiner introduces the concept of the double and geographical-based medicine. But first he fills in some details about the geocentric view of the cosmos. One salubrious effect this view had on people is that when they died they were not earthbound because they knew a spiritual sphere circled the Earth. Therefore they did not become destroyers as is the lot of all spirits who are locked into the earth-sphere after passing through the gate of death. With the advent of the Copernican view that the Earth circled the Sun, people lost this protection from becoming earth-bound after death. Since the beginning of the fifth post-Atlantean Epoch in 1453, it became necessary for humans to spend "this life searching increasingly for inner pictures, concepts and ideas about supersensible matters." We can not wait and see what will happen when we die.
[page 45, 46] We cannot do this because it is necessary for us to know now between our birth and our death about certain matters concerning the spiritual world, as I pointed out yesterday, in order to be in possession of these inner pictures and ideas when we step through the gate of death.
This was not the same in earlier periods of human evolution. As you know, up to the sixteenth century, when the Copernican view was presented, people had quite different beliefs about the structure of the universe. Obviously it was necessary for human progress, and to enable human freedom to enter into the evolution of humanity, that the Copernican view of the world should make its appearance on the scene, just as it is now necessary for spiritual science to appear. Nevertheless, the physical view of the world which people had before the arrival of Copernicanism call it wrong, if you wish that view of a physical world in which the earth stood still while the sun and the stars circled round its skies, and where beyond those skies there was a spiritual sphere where spiritual beings lived, that was a view which human beings could still take with them through the gate of death without being held back in the earthly sphere once they had died. It was a view of the world which did not cause them to become destroyers in the earthly sphere once they had passed through the gate of death. But when Copernicanism burst upon the scene it brought a view of the whole universe spread out in space ruled only by spatial laws; and it was when Copernicanism showed the earth circling round the sun that this view bound human beings to physical, sense-perceptible existence and prevented them from rising up into the spiritual world in the appropriate way after death.
It prevented humans from automatically rising up in the spiritual world after death as they did before Copernicanism was universally accepted; it essentially required that human beings develop and nurture views (pictures, concepts, and ideas) of the spiritual world on a volitional basis in order to rise into the spiritual world after death. Those who succumbed to the Baconian view that all they could learn about the world must come from sense-perceptual data and who presupposed that meant that all of the world was comprised solely of material things and forces they were the ones likely to bound to the earth-sphere after death and become destructive forces. What is needed is for people to be concerned both about the world of effects and the world of causes which underlie the effects. (Page 48)
[page 48] We must imbue ourselves with this feeling entirely if we are to understand rightly the immeasurable and profound significance of what is achieved through living together in spiritual collaboration now and in the future of humanity.
This is not something that can be gained on the basis of any kind of clubby fellowship, for it is a sacred task laid upon present and future humanity by the divine spiritual beings who govern the world. People will be unable to avoid taking in at least some inner conceptions about the supersensible world because such conceptions will less and less be forthcoming from the sense-perceptible world. By its very progress, science will increasingly drive conceptions about the supersensible world out of the world of the senses.
With science removing systematically every aspect of spirituality (which it considers to be superstition), people will less and less receive conceptions of the supersensible world from science. It will be up to human beings to heed the impulse received from the spiritual beings as their major source of inner conceptions about the supersensible world. Since this can only be done volitionally, one can choose to do nothing, but to do nothing to counteract the tendencies of science is to condemn onself to a lugubrious end.
[page 48, 49] If human beings failed to take in any supersensible, spiritual concepts, this would eventually exclude them entirely from the spiritual world; they would be condemning themselves to becoming after death totally bound up with the physical earth alone, and with what the physical earth will one day become.
Since the physical earth will become a corpse in the future, human beings would thus be facing the frightful prospect of condemning themselves to inhabiting a corpse in the guise of its soul if they failed to decide that they must learn how to live in the spiritual world and take root there. A most important task has thus indeed been set for the cultivation of spiritual science. Once every day we should fill our soul with this sacred thought so as never again to lose our enthusiasm for this matter of spiritual science.
One practical way of filling our soul daily with a sacred thought is to recite the first 14 verses of the John Gospel each morning, whose fifth verse says, "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." This exercise was shared with me by Kristina Kaine who said the practice goes back to the Essenes. Assiduous recitation of these verses while alive will help one to remain linked through love to those souls of loved ones living on Earth when one is spiriting in the world beyond Earth. The alternative is unpleasant to consider.
[page 49] All those inner conceptions which can multiply more and more if we join in with the many concepts about the spiritual world which have already come from that world into our spiritual stream, all these conceptions that are coming to us enable us to free ourselves from being bound to the earth, to what is destructive in the earthly realm, so that we can derive our work from another direction. So we do remain linked with the souls we have left behind on the earth and with those with whom we are karmically connected, and also with the earth, but from the direction of other realms. We are in fact more intensively linked with the souls left behind on the earth when our links with them derive from higher spiritual realms and when we are not condemned by a purely materialistic way of life to haunt the earth like ghosts without being linked through love with anything on it but are turned instead into focuses of destruction.
Do you believe in light after death? You may have done a double take when you read the previous sentence, but I mean it quite literally. We will each reside in darkness after death if we do not make the effort now while among the living. If you find a resonant chord with the people Steiner characterizes in the next passage, you may consider this a wake-up call.
[page 51, 52] People today feel uncomfortable if they have to acquire spiritual concepts. They like going to meetings where they are shown lantern slides or similar things and therefore do not have to think in a supersensible way; they like to see things in front of them, or at least hear lectures that tell them only about what they anyway always have before their eyes. People today shy away from making an effort to ascend to concepts that are more difficult here because they have no outer object since their objects are the facts that relate to the supersensible world. Over there, however, these concepts are the forces which actually bring the reality of the world to us.
Through spiritual ideas and concepts we gain the wisdom we need in order to have light over there where otherwise everything will be in darkness. What we attain here in the way of wisdom is light, spiritual light, over there. Wisdom is spiritual light. We need wisdom in order not to find ourselves in darkness over there. Not to acquire spiritual concepts is the best way of having no light over there. And when one has no light one moves away again from the sphere into which one ought to be casting light; one drifts back to earth and wanders about there as a focus of destruction. At most one might be used from time to time by a black magician in order to provide inspiration for certain quite specific functions, but also for destructive activities on the earth.
"Wisdom," Steiner says, "is something we need so that we can have light after death." But, he adds, we need something more, namely, love. But the love of the physical world is a low kind of love which will cause us to remain attached to the Earth will lead us to be agents of destruction. I wonder how many animal lovers, tree-huggers, and environmentalists will fall into this category when they are spiriting.
[page 53] Love, however, is something that can be either high or low depending on the realm in which it unfolds. If you pass through the gate of death and then have to remain in the earth realm as a focus of destruction, well, this is also due to having developed great love. The fact that you have to remain like this is a consequence of your having been bound up with purely naturalistic concepts, but then you employ this love for works of destruction; you love the work of destruction and are condemned to observe yourself loving the work of destruction.
Preachers today are still for the most exhorting their flocks to believe the same things as they have for millennia, but all this preaching will be ho help unless it is accompanied by descriptions of what the world will be like for humans after passing through the gate of death. Religions, by not changing, have begun unknowingly to relegate their deceased members to imprisonment in the earthly sphere. Why must religions and preaching change today? Because of the materialistic world we are imbued with from our birth which only came into being in recent centuries.
[page 53, 54] In former times when scientific, naturalistic concepts did not yet exist, and because people had not yet become infected with the merely material interests which have gained so much ground since the sixteenth century, it was in order for preachers to talk about the supersensible world in the way the various religious denominations still want to talk today. But this is not in order now. In deep compassion for humanity it unfortunately has to be said that people today often become ensnared for the very reason that they want to promote their own eternal bliss in an egoistic way via the religious denominations. By this very means they become excessively ensnared in the physical, sense-perceptible natural world, thus blocking their own ascent once they have passed through the gate of death.
It should be clear that spiritual science provides the essentials necessary for human beings in our time to avoid being ensnared in the clutches of the earthly sphere and thereby to avoid becoming a force for destruction when their time for living is over. It should also be clear where the sources of destruction in our present world originate. And what the corrective actions should be.
[page 54] This is yet another reason why it is necessary to emphasize profoundly how important it is for humanity to occupy itself with spiritual science in the present time and in the future, for those who are unable to form ideas about the life after death deserve the utmost commiseration. One of many reasons for the need to try and spread the word about spiritual science is that it must be done out of deepest sympathy for people because it is so lamentable if, from lack of understanding, they continue to resist making any approach to the ideas of spiritual science.
When we are born we are new to our body when we arrive in it as a soul. We are like a child who has inherited a large home from his deceased parents before it has examined all the rooms, someone has taken up residence in one of the rooms. This being which enters us at birth is what is referred to in the title of this book as the human double. It lives below our consciousness, in our subconscious, like a hitchhiker in the back of a pickup truck of which we are unaware. The characteristics of this human double is that of an ahrimanic spirit in the sense that it strives for power, immortality in the earthly sphere, and will manipulate its host to achieve that. It wishes for us to become free, but immoral.
[page 56, 57] So, we arrive in this world with the garment of our organism without being able to reach down into it with our soul to any great extent. Instead, shortly before we are born, not very long before we are born, there is also an opportunity for another spiritual being, apart from our soul, to take possession of our body, namely, of the subconscious part of our body. This is a fact. Shortly before we are born another being indwells us; in the terminology we use today we would call this an ahrimanic being. It is just as much in us as is our own soul.
These beings lead their lives by making use of human beings to enable them to inhabit the sphere in which they wish to dwell. They have an exceptionally high degree of intelligence and a very significantly developed will, but no qualities of soul, nothing like what we would call the human qualities of soul and heart and mind. So we proceed through our life while having our soul and also a double who is far cleverer, far cleverer than we are, very intelligent, but with a Mephistophelian intelligence, an ahrimanic intelligence, and in addition also an ahrimanic will, a very strong will, a will that is much more akin to the forces of nature than it is to our human will which is ruled by our heart and mind.
Even the electrical currents which course along our nerves are due to the presence of these ahrimanic beings. No wonder that when our scientists attempt to create robotic beings, they use such electric forces the robots are purely ahrimanic constructions and are basically immortal if maintained indefinitely, which would suit any ahrimanic being.
[page 57] In the nineteenth century science discovered that our nervous system is interspersed with forces of electricity. Science was quite right. But the scientists are wrong if they believe that the nervous force which belongs to us and which provides the foundation for our inner world of pictures and thinking has anything to do with the electric currents that course along our nerves. Those electric currents are the forces that are introduced into our being by the being I have just been describing. They do not belong to our being at all. There are electrical currents in us, but they are of a purely ahrimanic nature.
These ahrimanic beings cannot stand to remain in the human body at the point of death and must leave. This has come about because of the Christ being who came to Earth, entered a human body, and went through the process of death in the deed that Steiner calls the Mystery of Golgotha. Here we have another salubrious effect of that deed.
[page 58] If the Mystery of Golgotha had not taken place, if Christ had not passed through the Mystery of Golgotha, these beings would long since have gained the ability on earth to remain in the human body after a karmically predetermined death. They would then have gained control over human evolution on earth and would have become the masters of this human evolution on the earth.
The presence of our ahrimanic double is something each human being must come to know about, otherwise our light after death will greatly dimmed. People need the concept of the ahrimanic double when they pass through the gate of death.
[page 58, 59] Everything we experience here, including what lies beneath the threshold of consciousness, is needed by us after death when we have to look back to this life and in this looking back must comprehend it, for being unable to do this is the worst thing that can happen to us. But our concepts for understanding this life as we look back over it are insufficient if we cannot throw light on a being who plays such a part in our life as does this ahrimanic being who takes possession of us before birth and is ever-present as a feature of our subconscious. Our concepts for understanding this life are insufficient if we cannot throw light on these things; for wisdom is transformed into light after we die.
The health of all future humankind depends on the dissemination of the knowledge of the ahrimanic double, a knowledge which secret brotherhoods have withheld from humankind, up until now. Steiner explains clearly that the time has come for this knowledge to be revealed because the current stage of human evolution warrants it, in fact, requires it. As he discusses these issues in the next passage, notice how ahrimanic beings are at the root of our bodily diseases and luciferic beings at the root of neuroses.
[page 60] Something is opening up here which will in future definitely have to be pursued if humanity is not to meet with endless hindrances, endless frightful happenings. This double of whom I have been speaking is neither more nor less than the originator of all physical diseases that arise spontaneously from within, and to know this being fully is what is meant by organic medicine. Diseases that come spontaneously from within, not those caused by external injuries, do not come from the soul but from this being who is the originator of all organic diseases that arise spontaneously from within. This being is the originator of all organic diseases, while his brother, whose nature is luciferic, rather than ahrimanic, is the originator of all neuro-psychological and neurotic diseases, all diseases which are not really diseases at all but merely, as one says, nervous diseases, hysterical diseases and so on.
Steiner explains that what geologists know of the Earth we live upon is equivalent to the knowledge that could be acquired about living human beings in his audience if someone examined an X-ray of the room. All that would be visible would be the bones of those present. All the organic matter, the living forces at work within the human being would be overlooked. The living forces at work in the Earth do not show up in the eyes and instruments of geologists, but only the supersensible sight of the most delicate instrument of all, the human being. We all know from biology that the various differentiated organs of the human body are distributed around it: the pineal gland is separated from the kidneys, the heart from the spleen, the eyes from ears, etc. Similarly the Earth:
[page 61, 62] And the earth is differentiated in the same way. Our earth is certainly not a being that sends up the same emanations to its inhabitants wherever they may be. All kinds of different emanations come up out of the earth in different regions. There are various forces, magnetic, electrical and so on, but also a great deal more in the living realm which rise up out of the earth and influence human beings in manifold ways at different places on its surface. The influences on people vary depending on the geographical formations.
Geography as we know it is like faint X-ray of the Earth regions to which whose living forces the ahrimanic beings are attracted. Steiner explains how certain pre-Columbian migrations from Europe to America were made by humans attracted to what could be learned about medicine on the American continent. As an example of how the forces emanating from the ground differ, he tells us that the ones, "which rise up out of the earth and take hold of the human double, are of the very best kind in the island of Ireland." (Page 168)
We have all heard the stories about Leif Erickson sailing to North America from Norway before the tenth century, but have you ever wondered, as I have, "Why didn't people continue to sail to America between that time and Columbus' time some 500 or so years later?" In the Lecture 2, Steiner explains that the pause in journeying to America came about to protect the peoples from developing a relationship with the ahrimanic double while still at the intellectual soul level of development. It is only since Columbus' re-discovery of America which coincided with the advent of the consciousness soul that we are able to attain a right relationship with the double.
[page 64, 65] During the centuries preceding the fourteenth century people had to be protected against the double. The double had to disappear from people's view and has only been permitted to reappear now in our age when human beings must bring order into their relationship with it. For the double to disappear from people's view a very significant arrangement had to be carried out which it was only possible to set in train in the following way. Gradually from the ninth, the tenth century onwards the situation was created in Europe that caused Europeans to lose a certain contact which they had previously had, a contact that had been important for people of an earlier time, during the seventh, the sixth post-Christian centuries. Beginning from the ninth century and reaching a culmination in the twelfth all traffic with America, such as was possible with the ships of the time, was discontinued.
This will no doubt sound rather strange to you, and you are likely to exclaim that history has never told you of such a thing! Well, in many ways history is a legend. For in centuries of European development long ago ships did indeed set off from Norway, from what was then Norway, to America. Of course it had a different name then and was not called America.
People knew about the region in America where especially those magnetic forces rise up which bring human beings into a relationship with the double. The most noticeable relations with the double emanate from that part of the earth which is covered by the American continent. And in those early centuries people sailed in Norwegian boats to America where they then studied diseases. Coming from Europe, people went to America to study the diseases caused by the earth's magnetism. That is where we can find the mysterious origin of ancient European medicine. That is where it was possible to observe the course of diseases, which would not have been possible in Europe where people were more susceptible to the influences of the double.
Amazingly, Europe's forgetting about America was due to the Catholic Church which expunged from the records any mention of this land we now call America. (Page 65) It was, in fact, the Irish monks such as Columban and St. Gall who put up spiritual walls to insulate Europe from the influences which might else have come to Europe from the Americas. (Page 66, 67) Not surprisingly, America was re-discovered during the onset of the age of materialism in the fifteenth century, and its early exploration was dominated by a strong desire for gold.
[page 67, 68] Only when the age of materialism began was America rediscovered. Then America was discovered under the influence of the greed for gold, under the influence of a purely materialistic culture with which people have to reckon in the fifth post-Atlantean era and with which they must establish an appropriate relationship.
These are the things that are genuine history. And they are what throw light on what is real. The earth has to be described as a living being. It has geographical differentiations in the way the most varied forces stream up out of all kinds of different terrestrial regions. That is why human beings must not be separated off according to terrestrial region but must take on from one another whatever each region can uniquely produce in the way of what is good and great. And that is why the world view of spiritual science is mindful of the need to create something that can be truly accepted by all nations in all regions. Human beings must progress through a mutual exchange of their spiritual riches. It is this that is crucial.
One of the prominent geographical structures in North America is its long ranges of mountains from north-south. The Rockies in particular which extend northward close to the north magnetic pole. In such regions of the Earth, the influence of the arhimanic double is particularly strong.
[page 69] There is one specific part of the earth's underlying ground which has the greatest kinship with those forces. When people go there they enter into that sphere of influence, but when they go away again they are no longer influenced in that way. These are geographical forces; this is not a matter of ethnicity or nationality but purely of geography. The region where that which streams upwards from below has the greatest influence on the double and where, because of this kinship with the double it reflects back to the earth as well, this is the region where most of the mountain ranges do not cross from west to east but run mainly from north to south, where the magnetic North Pole is nearby for this, too, is connected with those forces. This is the region where, through the prevailing external conditions, above all a kinship is developed with the mephistophelian-ahrimanic nature. This kinship has many effects on the further development of the earth. So people must not go along blindly with the earth's development, for they must see and understand these conditions.
Steiner at this point in Lecture 2 launches into what could seem like a lambasting of historians and the press for missing the reality of the underlying events, but he says he was not criticizing, but characterizing how those involved recorded those events.
"Medicine can only endure if it is a spiritual science." (Page 73) Certainly medicine is not a spiritual science today no where close. Drugs and invasive surgery are usually the first resorts to healing people, not the last resort. What if the drugs administered to fight these diseases merely feed the ahrimanic demons something it could not get directly from human being itself? Medicine was once a spiritual science, and will have to become one again. (Page 74) The underground practitioners of spiritual science will one day arise as the early Christians did from their catacombs into the light of day. Once they did, the Romans were converted to Christianity without any Christian firing a shot.
[page 75] The Christians of those times actually had to descend into physical catacombs while up above them all the things went on which those distinguished Romans considered right and proper while those fantastical Christians were down below. But once a few centuries had passed things had changed. The Roman world had been swept away and what had been down below in the catacombs had risen to the surface. What had once dominated culture had been torn up by its roots.
We record and pay tribute to ones physical birthday, but rarely to ones spiritual birthday, the day one dies and is born into the spiritual world. In this next passage Steiner allows those present at the lecture in St. Gallen to join him in taking note of what I would call Stinde's "spiritday." I mention that my own mother's spiritday was appropriately on Mother's Day, 2000.
[page 76] At this moment I am thinking once again about Sophie Stinde, who worked so faithfully at the Goetheanum, because the anniversary of her physical death is approaching again, her supersensible birthday into spiritual life.
If we attempt to model our lives out of the classical teachings of the Greeks such as Plato, Aristotle, etal, we will find a huge gap due to their obliviousness to things that we are aware of today. This is a consequence of the course of human evolution which shifted dramatically between the Greco-Latin Age and the current age which began in 1453. The things humans of that time were kept unaware of are the very things we must be aware of today. Those ancient Greeks soared to great heights of intellectual achievement as befit their placement in the intellectual soul age, but today we find ourselves immersed in the middle of the consciousness soul age and we must become aware of things the ancient Greeks had no clue about.
[page 80] Throughout the whole period of the fourth post-Atlantean epoch it was in order for human beings to be kept unaware about certain things. But many of the things about which the people of the fourth post-Atlantean epoch, the Greco-Latin epoch, could be kept unaware are the very ones of which the human beings of the fifth post-Atlantean epoch must become more and more conscious. In fact, this fifth post-Atlantean age will anyway be one in which much that was formerly outside consciousness will have to enter into the consciousness of human souls.
What our task is becomes clear: we must prepare ourselves for the approaching age(3) by developing spiritual capacities to accompany our intellectual inheritance from the Greeks and the consciousness soul capabilities we are currently developing.
[page 81] This part of humanity will certainly represent the best basis for what is to come in the sixth post-Atlantean age, the age that will follow our present one, but in the fifth post-Atlantean age during which it is making these preparations, this part of humanity will have little inclination to turn its attention strongly to matters of the physical plane. It will be concerning itself a great deal with bringing the life of heart and soul on to a higher level and putting certain spiritual matters in order. And because of this others, who are rather less suited to such spiritual life, will be enabled to seize certain conditions of power for themselves.
As Steiner talks about developing our spiritual capacities, I search around me for examples of how this might already happening. Something that has puzzled me in recent years has been a certain technique of film-making where isolated facts of multiple sets of people are shown in a haphazard fashion without any discernible pattern. The various groups of people seem to have no connection with each other, and I feel frustrated by being unable to perceive a connection between them. Slowly as the film progresses, I am able to grasp the connections and to discern the underlying pattern which will tie all the pieces together by the end of the movie. Movie-makers more and more, it seems to me, have been incorporating into their movies techniques which equip us for our experiences in the spiritual world to come.
[page 83] There is also another fact that those who know about it regard as very important, so that because of its importance they must bring it into connection with various others. I have mentioned this in lectures from time to time. (4) When you have stepped across the threshold to the spiritual world and are making spiritual observations there, you find that single facts, always individual facts, appear before your soul. It then transpires that facts which at first sight appear to the spiritual eye to have nothing to do with one another are actually connected when you grasp their meaning. Such facts illumine and clarify each other and then enable you to press on further into the essence of the spiritual world in the profoundest sense.
What is evil? This is a subject that Steiner clarified for me and which has helped me to understand the world much better since that time. "Evil is a good out of its time." Think of a weed. People consider it an evil plant, don't they? And yet what is a weed? Its a plant where and when you dont want it to be. A plant out of its time.
What is terrorism? Those activists who are murdering innocent people of all ages in various parts of the world what are they doing? What effects do these acts of violence have on those who are killed precipitously and what effects do they have on the world we live in? In these next passages Steiner discusses acts of terrorism which plagued his time during the Great War.
[page 85] The situation is that the souls who have passed violently through the gate of death retain something on account of having lost their life in that way here in the physical world; they have retained certain possibilities of being able to make use of forces which they have had here, for instance the force of the intellect. . . . These people, these activists who murder people, are only doing it in order to draw attention to the misery in the world; it is a means of incitement and so on. But if you analyze the matter and try to bring it into the context of social laws you notice immediately that none of this has any meaning. It becomes meaningful, however, if you know that souls sent up into the spiritual world by such means understand things up there which they ought not to understand yet and which souls who have died in the normal way even shy away from. . . . if you analyze the matter and look at the individuals who have been dispatched to their death in this way you realize that they must have been selected on purpose, though not on the basis of criteria applying to the physical world but rather on the basis of criteria applying to the spiritual world.
By first murdering people using killers(5) and activists and then using skilled mediums to obtain information from their souls, secret brotherhoods can dominate large masses of people. This happens through a normal process that is souped-up or supercharged and the result is a good which arrives out of its time or pure evil.
[page 89, 90] Indeed, it is actually an important task for a number of people who are now passing through the gate of death to use when they have become mature enough for certain secrets the normal forces in connection with those secrets rather than learn about them through a foreshortened experience by using forces brought into play by a violent death. These human souls do indeed have the task of finding out about these forces and inspiring people who are here on the earth with them, people who are not mediums but who should find out about them in a normal and proper way through Inspiration. In normal life one has to wait for this. When things that ought to come later make their appearance as spiritual premature births by the means I have described through criminal occult activity when this happens those whose intentions towards humanity are not good, in other words those who are black or grey magicians, can gain possession of such secrets.
We live in a materialistic world for which the idea of a spiritual world is null and void, a non-starter, nil, zip, nada, nothing, a big ZERO. But our chore in this fifth post-Atlantean age is to develop our knowledge of spiritual science to the point where we can say with confidence to those materialists enthralled by ahrimanic powers and beings, as Faust did to Mephistopheles, "In your Naught I find my All." Inside of the materialism's Big Zero, we can find spiritual science's Infinity which I represent diagrammatically in Figure 1. (Page 94, 95)
[page 95] The attitude of mind must develop in which one can look into what the materialistic view sees as 'naught' and there see the spiritual world.
Steiner closes Lecture 3 with a discussion of two ways in which people make progress today: (1) by noticing the importance of coincidences and (2) by noticing the manner in which spiritual insights are coming to people today.
[page 98, 99 (1) ] Suppose you read of a particular person having died at a specific place and at a specific time. A number of things will suggest themselves to you if you ask yourself what would have happened if that person had died three months earlier or three months later. This is, of course, merely a question concerning supposed possibilities. But if you ask yourself such a question you can be sure that it can awaken forces in you through which you will reach different insights. Or perhaps you are traveling on a train and have a very important conversation with someone, a conversation that means a great deal to you; or something similar. A materialist will of course regard such things as pure coincidence. But someone who wants to find his way gradually into being able to look behind the scenery of existence, such a person will pay attention to such things. He will ponder these things, not by forcing them into conceptual forms but by sensing the feelings they generate. He will concern himself with these things because they are like hints of the forces at play between things that happen, forces that are more than merely mechanical or mathematical.
The second way reminds me of a caveat from Harry Boyd, "When you are swimming in a sewer, the best thing you can do is keep your mouth shut!" People are reluctant to talk about experiences which defy the cold rational logic of the materialistic world with its mechanical and mathematical precision. It is these very experiences which reveal the presence of the spiritual world and its salubrious effect upon our daily experience. Even the most recalcitrant atheist is tempted at times of inspiration like Steiner describes below to say, quietly, "Thank God!"
[page 99 (2) ] The second, which I want to keep on and on mentioning, is that despite today's materialism much that is spiritual is being revealed to human beings. But people are embarrassed to say too much about spiritual experiences they may be having. When someone opens up a little and begins to tell you things because he has developed trust in you, you will hear about how one person did this or another did that. If a person tells you really honestly and candidly why he founded this newspaper or why he did something else, he is telling you a dream, something like a dream; he is describing these things as suggestions coming from the spiritual world. You will find this happening everywhere, much more than you would imagine. Many more things are put into practice out of spiritual impulses than you would think. Only people are embarrassed to admit to this because others do not take them seriously if they talk about such things.
In Lecture 4, he continues his rolling back the curtain to reveal what is "behind the scenes of external events." He is talking to an audience in whose minds the tragic events unfolding in the Great War are ever present, just as the events unfolding in our lives since September 11, 2001 have been in ours. He could be talking to us today:
[page 100] I want to broach a subject that so much needs to be discussed, a subject that the present tragic events in human life are forcing us to face, a subject that could be defined briefly with the words: Humanity urgently needs to find its way once more to knowledge and awareness of how what takes place here in the world on the physical plane is linked with a concrete spiritual world. Humanity urgently needs to become aware that a spiritual world is working down into every detail of existence in the physical world.
We are living in momentous times in this nascent millennium. Things all about us are in transition, and we must come to grasp what is transiting because the transition is not only here in the physical world, but also the spiritual world. People who not do give serious consideration to the events of the spiritual world will come into serious problems due their presupposition that only the material world is worth learning about.
[page 102] We are impelled by our sympathy for people who must have these ideas and who are doomed to take terrible things upon themselves if they do not have them.
Christians who profess to believe in God, to pray to God every day, and to have a personal relationship with God are often abhorred to hear someone who professes to be a Christian who talks about the hierarchy of spiritual beings. It's as if their very monotheism were threatened by the thought of other spiritual beings such as Angels, Archangels, etc. Out of their awareness, people such as this have established a personal relationship with their personally assigned Angel (traditionally called Guardian Angel), which is good, but they refer to this Angel as God, which is not good.
[page 103] Let us be clear about what this means. When a person's only relationship with the spiritual world is the one that is regarded today in religious circles as the usual one, the one cultivated by a Church that fancies itself as enlightened, then that person only has a specific relationship with the spiritual world, a relationship which, although it is one of feeling, only concerns the protecting Angelos, the angel being with whom he does have a real relationship. And such a person then refers to that angel-being, the only being he can relate to and have certain feelings for, as his god. If he is a Christian he calls this angel-being Christ. He mistakes the angel-being for Christ. It is perhaps difficult to imagine this, but it is so. Protestant theologians who fancy themselves to be enlightened warn strongly against polytheism so that people should gain a direct relationship with the one being, Christ. But however much they talk to people about Christ, what they are saying about Christ refers solely to the individual's relationship with his own angel-being. Thus in our time monotheism is in danger of becoming the worship by each human being of his own individual angel.
One consequence of this prevalent way of thinking of one God is similar to what is happening in the world today: each country wants to have its own god.
[page 103, 104] In fact the monotheists of today each pray only to their own angel, but as the words resound together which each is speaking to his own angel in an egoistic relationship with his own angel-being, they think that they are talking of a god whom they all share. If this were to develop further, people as individual human beings would begin to develop more and more what we already see nations manifesting in a terrible way. Although still speaking theoretically of the One God, they do not seriously want to recognize this divinity, especially now, for each nation wants to have its own god.
We hear today numerous voices in the mass media saying things like, "We must get rid of sweat shops," or "We must have minimum wage standards for the whole world," etc. It seems as if so-called liberals today, who are in no way distinguishable from socialists of Steiner's time, are wanting to apply the standards of the most industrialized nation of the world to the least industrialized ones.
[page 105, 106] Humanity today wants to apply the same yardstick to everything and invent theories according to which people all over the globe may be awarded the same standard of earthly happiness. Today's socialist thinks that certain ideas apply equally to human life in England, America, Russia or Asia. If every state were to arrange its affairs as socialism prescribes then the happiness which people everywhere dream about would automatically ensue. That is what people think.
But this will not work, but will only cause endless confusion and chaos. (Page 106)
[page 106] Only those who can build a bridge from their soul to the objective facts can work in a beneficial way to shape earthly existence.
People who perceive a lacking in their own souls project that lack onto the peoples of the under-developed countries and strive to get their dream from own soul implemented in the external world. This will not work. When they recognize their own projection and switch to working on their own soul in a real way to fill that lack, then the reality of the external world will reveal itself to them. What was previously felt as a lack, will be found to be a fullness when viewed from a spiritual perspective.
The next event Steiner takes us behind the scenes of is one I call the EAT-O-TWIST Event. Let me explain this to those of you this may be new to. EAT-O-TWIST is an acronym for the process Everything Allways Turns Out The Way It's Supposed To which I created about 25 years ago to help remind me of a spiritual truth I stumbled upon. This was several years before I heard of Rudolf Steiner or read any of his books and lectures. I incorporated EAT-O-TWIST into Matherne's Rule #10 which says facetiously "EAT-O-TWIST! never breaks. You'll use it from now on." Yes, it was intended to be amusing. Cannot a spiritual truth be amusing? Especially if it helps people to begin using it. One day after Del and I had begun using it, I shared with her that I was discouraged about something and she said, "Remember, EAT-O-TWIST." I gave her this look which said, Oh yeah! Well, not this time! and she looked right back and me and said, EAT-O-TWIST never breaks! That made me immediately change my supposing about what would happen in the situation which had me discouraged, and Mathernes Rule #10 was born. You can read the EAT-O-TWIST story on the website, but for now, I simply want to explain that the "supposing" part of the acronym refers to whatever internal images, words, thoughts, sounds, and feeling you might have about something in your world at any moment. Wait long enough, hold those supposings in you long enough and watch what happens: your outside world will reflect those supposings. As Del said, "EAT-O-TWIST never breaks!"
What I didn't consciously know 25 years ago when I promulgated EAT-O-TWIST is that the process it embodies had only come into full force about one hundred years earlier. It came to the Earth as spiritual wisdom in 1879 following a 38-year-long battle in the spiritual world between the forces of darkness and light. When the forces of light under the leadership of Michael the Archangel won, the forces of darkness were thrown out and "the heavens are now free of them while the earth is full of them." (Page 107)
[page 107, 108] But now that those spirits of darkness are moving about amongst human beings here on earth, they are once again working to confuse people. Their aim now is to make sure that people fail to enter into the right relationship with the spiritual truths, so that the healing purpose of those truths is kept away from human beings.
The battle is won and heaven is free of the confusion caused by these dark spirits but the Earth is full of it. These dark spirits are aided by the secret brotherhoods who wish to keep these truths from being taken seriously by humankind.
[page 108] On the other there are the closed secret brotherhoods of a nasty kind whose very aim is not to let the wisdom enter into humanity, so that people will remain stupid and foolish as far as the spiritual world is concerned while those within the closely guarded brotherhoods carry on their machinations from there.
EAT-O-TWIST contains a supposition that would be very healthy for human beings to have beginning in 1879, but any supposition can be poisoned by a presupposition. If you suppose life works a certain way, and you hear someone employ in their speech a presupposition that holds the opposite to be true, your original supposition will immediately dissolve and be replaced by the opposite supposition. Unless you consciously recognize the presupposition, you have no defense against its doing its work on you. You may not even notice that the presupposition had any effect upon you, which is what makes the whole process so insidious and so hard to detect when it happens to you. If you wish to learn to recognize presuppositions in speech patterns, Richard Bandler and John Grinder have written a book The Structure of Magic which has a detailed list of presupposition speech patterns.
When some spiritual truth becomes available, people feel as if a light has been turned on but when the forces of darkness attack, the light goes out. These forces typically attack by using presuppositions to instill fear, and then people turn away from the spiritual truth because they have unconsciously introjected the presuppositions and created misconceptions from them.
[page 108] You will feel as though a kind of light has been turned on regarding what is happening behind these matters when I tell you of certain truths, truths that, like ripe plums dropping from a tree, are meant to drop down out of the spiritual world into the human realm but are being prevented from spreading also because people have presuppositions and misconceptions about them and are afraid of them.
I don't like unripe plums: they are hard, they are bitter and unpleasant, but wait till the plum gets soft and ripe and there is no finer, juicier, or more delicious fruit on the face of the Earth in my opinion. Clear thinking is like a ripe plum which it is important for us to eat during this time on Earth. Without that clear thinking we will miss the ripe fruits of the spiritual world which are dropping down today.
[page 109] Never before has there been a time when clear thinking has been as necessary for human evolution as are eating and drinking for the preservation of the physical body. For if people think without clarity now in our time and on into the future, they will not be able to see in the right light those ripe truths that are to drop down from the spiritual world.
What are some of those ripe truths? One is the importance of the Mystery of Golgotha to the evolution of the Earth. A second is the return of Christ to Earth in the etheric plane since the early twentieth century. A third is the EAT-O-TWIST Event in 1879 which we mentioned above. In a nutshell people born before 1879 were insulated from the full force of EAT-O-TWIST. If they supposed there was no spiritual world waiting for them after they died, they were protected from that being the case. Those born after 1879 lost that protection from their suppositions because EAT-O-TWIST began to operate with its full force. The effects of this change can not be over emphasized. It affects every human being today since everyone reading this is under 126 years old, so far as I know. Note that "suppose" is equivalent to "regard as" in the passage below, so Steiner is talking about EAT-O-TWIST.
[page 110] This profoundly incisive event has the effect, especially, that in their souls human beings become increasingly similar to their thoughts, to what they regard as their understanding of things. This may be a strange truth for the people of today, but it is a truth nevertheless. It is important and essential to see certain things in the right light, with clear thoughts, with valid thoughts, with thoughts imbued through and through with reality. To see Darwinism correctly, for example as I endeavoured to present it yesterday in the public lecture, this is good. But to see it as the basis for the only valid view of the world, to see it as meaning that only one thing is correct, namely, that the human being is descended from the animals, to have the living thought about oneself 'I am descended from the animals, I have originated only out of the same forces that also form the animals' all this leads souls nowadays to resemble their own inner pictures.
Specifically this means when one enters the spiritual world, EAT-O-TWIST works in full force. What one supposed before one died is lived out there is no longer any shield from one's materialistic misconceptions or presuppositions. Is it important to know this?
[page 110] It is important to know this! When a soul like this has laid aside its body it undergoes the misfortune of having to see itself as resembling its own inner pictures. Those who believe while in the physical body that only animal forces have played a part in their development are building for themselves a consciousness after death with which they will have to perceive themselves as animals. For now that the event of 1879 has properly brought to fulfilment the character of the fifth post-Atlantean age, the thoughts which human beings make for themselves serve to make human souls become transformed into these thoughts.
Clearly one cannot wait until one dies to discover the truth about the spiritual world, because by then the spiritual world will consist of what one supposed it would be before one died. There is no way to sugar-coat this truth. Steiner was speaking in 1917 when people who were born before 1879 were still alive. We are currently living "in the future" that he refers to in the passage below. We must become aware of our true connections with the spiritual world today.
[page 111] Harmony with oneself coupled with knowledge that allows the human being to be human after death, this will only come about in the future if human beings become aware, while they are here in the physical body, of their true connections with the spiritual world.
It is almost an anthem of the materialists that "we humans are what we eat", but it is rarely stated as such. But ask a materialist if the human being is different from that of an animal which eats the same things as we do, or different from the ape from which we are supposedly descended, and they'll likely say, "Very little difference except for some increased brain size in relation to body weight." If one supposes "we are what we eat," then what happens when we die and everything formed from what we ate rots and decays in the grave? If people know very little, they could be materialists and yet never think about such things obtaining some protection from their ignorance.
[page 114] But if materialism triumphs, then people will increasingly believe: All that is left of the dead person is decaying in the urn or in the grave. This thought is a real force. It is an untruth. If those left behind think that the dead person is no longer alive and that he is no longer here, then this is an erroneous thought, but this erroneous thought is nevertheless real and actual in the souls of the people who think it. And the dead person perceives this real thought; he perceives it as something very significant for himself. It is not unimportant, but in fact profoundly important, if those who remain behind here cultivate in their living inner soul life the thought of the dead person continuing to live in the spiritual world, or if they merely give way to the lament: 'He's dead, that's all, he is decaying.' These two things are not equally valid for they are actually very essentially different.
Consider the difference if one lights a candle while thinking of person as spiriting in the other world, alive and spiriting, and one talks in one's head to the other person in the second person, present tense. If one talks as if the person were alive, one acknowledges that the person is present in spirit and is, in fact, spiriting at the moment one is living. This creates a direct communication which benefits both oneself and the other person. Exactly how it does this will be elaborated further down.
In my Catholic youth, I made fun of my mother when she lit candles for her departed relatives. "As if that could do any good for them," I thought. It is amazing how different the world becomes as one studies it carefully from youth into adulthood. And amazing how many people drop their study of the world when they leave high school or college it's as if education were for them something that must forced upon them by their parents. It's apparent they need a parent to learn about the world, but the time of parents is gone, as is the time of prophets, those super-parents who were needed by ancient humans to tell them what they had to do in order to establish a right relationship with the spiritual world.
Another isolated fact which will fit in later: Steiner was speaking in Zurich at the same time that Carl Gustav Jung was living in Zurich developing, practicing, and teaching his analytical psychology. Steiner thought it was good because these Jungian analysts were confronting directly matters of soul and spirit, even looking for causes of hysterical symptoms in the soul realm. Searching for the subconscious causes only in the personal history of the person, such as some sexual aberration, however, is not enough, in fact, it is the least consequential aspect of the matter. (Page 116)
[page 116] One thing above all, though, is certainly true, and that is that countless subconscious elements do indeed haunt human beings today, and they are much harassed by these; and the diseases of civilization are caused by them.
What is this? Consider what I have already said. The thought of the dead person who is no longer here lives in the soul; it lives somehow, without the soul thinking about it much; it lives only because the soul is today still without thought, and the soul is rather sensitive with regard to such thoughtless thoughts. When this happens the dead person is forced by eternal universal laws to live with this thought; the dead person haunts the soul of the living person who has remained behind.
This requires a bit of explication as the translation seems to leave some ambiguities as to Steiner's meaning. Let's suppose Molly and Sam loved each other dearly for many years. Sam dies and Molly is still alive and mourning her loss. Sam is spiriting, but has difficulty because Molly is living and she is supposing that Sam's body is decaying in his grave. She talks about him in the third person to her other friends, "Sam's dead now. I loved him, so. I miss him." and so on(6). What does Sam do? He stays around to haunt Molly, not out of malice, but out of a wish to get her to believe he is spiriting. He wants her to begin talking to him in the second person, present tense, the way we talk to people who are alive and in our presence. This is how we should talk when we communicate with loved ones who are spiriting if we would help them and ourselves progress best in our respective worlds.
For you to do otherwise is to subject both your departed loved ones and yourself to various neuroses and diseases of the type that analytical psychology deals with. This is the elaboration I promised you of the benefits of talking to one's loved ones as if they were still alive. Fact is they are alive in the spirit and immediately at hand to listen to your words or your thoughts at all times. Consider how your loved one would have felt when alive if you ignored them when they were present and talked about them in the third person as if they were not there? That's exactly how deceased loved ones feel if you do that to them today.
[page 116] The only way to counteract this is by knowing that the dead person lives. People on the physical plane will be more and more driven into soul illnesses by their lack of belief that the dead are alive. As a rule it is not youthful sexual aberrations that bring about these diseases, but thoughts that do not believe. For in our time thoughts are called upon to become real forces. They are called upon to become real forces, but not only forces that work for themselves; they work for themselves when after death the soul increasingly resembles what it imagined itself to be while it was in the body. But these thoughts become real forces in a higher sense as well in that they even bind beings, in this case those who have died, in a wrong way to those who are still alive.
The only way to counteract this is by maintaining as far as one can a connection with the one who has died in that one regards him as continuing to live. This saves the relationship with the dead person from becoming a disaster not only for oneself who has remained behind but also in some ways for the dead person who is necessitated by an eternal, wisdom-filled law to haunt the one who has remained behind in a way that does not come to the consciousness of that person but manifests purely in symptoms of disease.
In the movie Ghost, when Molly finally begins to talk to Sam in the second person, present tense, Sam is able to continue his journey into the spiritual world and all the neurotic symptoms that Molly exhibited disappear. To us movie-goers Molly did not seem neurotic because we were allowed to see the spiritual truths behind's Molly behaviors so that we saw them as normal instead of neurotic. Take the case of Oda Mae Brown's behavior in the bank or in the street with the nuns, her behavior certainly seemed neurotic to the people around her.
As shown in the movie above, the real remedy for Molly's symptoms was for her to learn about the truth of the spiritual world from which Sam was enthralled to her until she did.
[page 117] So what is the real remedy for many of the symptoms which psychoanalysts are encountering today? The remedy is to spread knowledge about the spiritual world. This is the universal remedy, the universal therapy, and not those individual treatments that are bestowed upon individual patients.
But do people want knowledge about the spiritual world today? No, what they want is pat answers to problems, things to do which can be applied in every corner of the globe. They want people and books to tell them what to do. If they wish to become creative, they want a book to tell them, "Here's five ways to be creative."
[page 122] People want abstract programs nowadays, they want to hear stated in five sentences what should be done all over the world; they want delegates to be sent from every state on earth who will meet in a world tribunal and vote on everything that is to happen all over the earth in accordance with an accepted norm. Yet the important thing to realize is that knowledge of the spiritual world is what is required of human beings, a continuous effort to make contact with the spiritual world.
It is clear to all that we are living in an age of materialism, but what is now becoming clear is that opposites coincide that is, the appearance of an extreme in one area of the world leads to its opposite arising in another area of the world. And by world, I refer to both the material world spiritual world.
[page 131] We know that materialism has been reaching it zenith since about the middle of the nineteenth century. However, the reality is that opposite poles always coincide. The zenith of materialism in human evolution has to coincide with its opposite, namely, an inwardness in human evolution that leads to Christ being indeed seen in the etheric realm.
We have been approaching the zenith of materialism, but it is still slightly increasing and will continue to do so for another 500 years. If anyone spreads some doctrine that materialism is fizzling out, they are either already misled or have some personal interest in misleading you.
[page 131, 132] Those unfortunate, pitiable, 'clever' individuals who spread the doctrine . . . are more less serving those who have an interest in putting about something that is untrue, namely, that materialism has fizzled out. This is an untruth, for materialism is, on the contrary, still on the increase, and it will flourish best when people delude themselves into believing that they are no longer materialists. Materialism is on the increase, and it will continue being on the increase for another four to five hundred years.
Our environment when we spirit during the time between passing through the gate of death and a new birth is largely determined for us today by how much we absorb of spiritual concepts before we die. If we absorb little or no spiritual concepts we are relegated to wandering lost about the face of the Earth, and we become forces of destruction because the human body, which separates us from our surroundings (matter is impenetrable, but spirit is not) protects us from destructive acts, does not accompany us into the spiritual world. One look at the evenings news tells us that there are many forces of destruction at large on the Earth already.
[page 134] So, our environment over there is determined by whether or not we absorb spiritual concepts here. It has to be said with much pity that many of those who have resisted or been prevented from absorbing spiritual concepts here during life find themselves wandering about on the earth even when they are dead, for they remain bound up with the earthly sphere. And once the human soul is no longer separated from its surroundings by a body that would prevent it from acting in a destructive way, this human soul becomes a focus of destruction within the earthly sphere.
It has to be said that this is quite a normal situation. Under today's conditions, souls who enter the spiritual world after death, having wanted to know absolutely nothing about spiritual concepts and feelings, become focuses of destruction because they are detained in the earthly sphere. Only those souls who have already here been filled with a degree of connection with the spiritual world pass through the gate of death in such a way that they are taken up into the spiritual world in the right way and removed from the earthly sphere; they can spin the threads in the right way that link them with those who have remained behind, threads which are continually spun. We must not forget that the spiritual threads linking the dead souls with those of us here who have been connected with them are not sundered by death; they remain and even become much more intimate after death than they were here. What I have been describing must be accepted as a serious and important truth.
Paradoxically the most dangerous of the brotherhoods or societies are those who vociferously spread the gospel that materialism has already been overcome because, deep down and in secret, their aims really are for power. They obtain this power by inculcating in their members materialistic beliefs which ensure that these members will remain attached to Earth in the human realm after death. It is from these attached souls that these societies extract their power.
[page 136] These materialists are not materialists because they do not believe in the spirit; these materialistic initiates are not so stupid. They know very well what are the implications of the spirit. But they cause the souls to remain within matter even after death in order to make use of them for their own purposes. They create a clientele of dead souls that remain within the sphere of the earth. These dead souls possess forces that can be guided in various ways which make it possible to gain quite specific powers over those who are not party to such things.
This is quite simply something that certain brotherhoods set in train. And this is seen clearly only by those who are not prepared to believe in anything that is obscure or nebulous, and who do not allow themselves to be persuaded either that such brotherhoods do not exist or that what they do is harmless. These things are not at all harmless; they are very harmful, for the intention is to make human beings go further and further into materialism. What these initiates want is for these human beings to believe that although spiritual forces do exist they are nothing but forces of nature.
If you find yourself in such a society and the initiates tells you that there are higher forces in nature than electricity and magnetism and they merely tapping those forces, chances are they are tapping the forces of the dead and not telling you. What is your defense against these things? Steiner puts it bluntly, "The only defense against these things is knowing about them. If you know about them you are protected." What you have encountered is "brothers of the left-hand path." These brothers led seances in the latter part of the nineteenth century one can only guess what form of activity they use during the nascent twenty-first century.
[page 138, 139] What they intended and indeed expected was that during spiritualist seances people should say: 'Higher forces of nature do indeed exist.' But the brothers of the left-hand path were then disappointed when most people said instead: 'The spirits of the dead appear during the seances.' This was a bitter disappointment for the initiates, for it was exactly what they did not want. Belief in the dead was the very thing which they wanted to take away from human beings. People were to be deprived not of the workings of the dead, not of the way the forces of the dead worked, but of the thought, that very significant thought, that these things do come from the dead.
As you can see, this is a higher form of materialism, a materialism that not only denies the existence of the spirit but that wants to imprison the spirit in matter. Materialism still manifests in ways that make it possible to deny its existence. People can say that materialism has gone and that what we are talking about is spirit. But they all speak about the spirit in a vague way. Making all nature into spirit in a way that leads to psychism as the end result is a very good way of being a materialist. But what really matters is the ability to see into the concrete spiritual world, into concrete spirituality.
These societies or brotherhoods have another goal, which is to make the appearance of Christ in the etheric plane during the first third of the twentieth century pass by unnoticed. Since we are some 70 plus years distant from that event, and it is basically unknown outside of anthroposophical circles, one can say that they have been successful in their goal, up until now. In the place of Christ they wish to install another being which has this distinct difference from Christ: it has never been incarnated as a human being in the flesh upon Earth.
[page 141, 142] For the brotherhoods will give the name of 'Christ', the actual name of 'Christ', to that other being whom they want to make into the ruler. It will therefore be crucial to learn to distinguish between the true Christ, who this time will also be an individuality not incarnated in the flesh, and that other being who differs from the true Christ in that he has never been incarnated throughout earthly evolution but whom those brotherhoods now want to install in the place of Christ who, they intend, shall pass by unnoticed.
If you have ever heard of eastern or western lodges and wondered about the difference between them, Steiner lays it out for you in this next passage.
[page 144] The western lodges have the dead who are imprisoned in matter; the eastern lodges of the left-hand path have demonic spirits, that is, spirits who do not belong to earthly evolution but who creep into earthly evolution by putting on ether bodies laid aside by human beings.
When these beings invade a living human, the human is unconscious of the origin of the effects they create. The various therapies that lay the cause to sexual repression as a child, etc, are masking the true cause which is this: the person is experiencing an impulse from a spiritual being. Steiner says it is sad that such efforts are made to keep people in the dark about the true source of the problem.
[page 145] This is why it is so sad when efforts keep being made to persuade people that when the unconscious, the so-called unconscious, works in them it is the result of repressed love or something similar, whereas in fact the impulse of very conscious spirituality is being brought in to move about amongst humanity from all sides which, though, remains relatively unconscious if one does not make efforts in one's consciousness to be aware of it.
One of the things logic seeks to teach its students is that contradiction is not allowed: one thing cannot be itself and something else. Contradiction is simply not allowed in the pristine halls of Logic. Reality is not so pristine it does not fit neatly into our logical maps of the world. In nature we see a unified system because everything has been screened out except what comes in through our senses. We wear, as it were, "nature-colored glasses", and make logical deductions about nature, which are accepted as truths until they proven wrong and replaced by other equally suspect, but accepted truths.
[page 160, 161] Behind the tapestry of nature, however, there lies something else which receives its direction from quite another quarter. This, though, is excluded from our observation of nature.
So what we call nature is indeed a unified system because everything else has been screened out. It is as though we perceive nature through the filter of our senses. Everything that is contradictory is filtered out and the nature we have before us is thus a unified system. Once we cross the threshold, however, and include reality in our explanation of nature the elemental beings, influences of human souls that can be directed towards nature then we can no longer talk of nature as being a unified system. For then we also have to include the workings of individualities who either obstruct one another or support and strengthen one another.
What is our task as human beings during this fifth post-Atlantean period? "We must come to grips with evil," Steiner tells us. Instead praying to be "delivered from evil" as the Lord's Prayer exhorts, we might pray to have evil delivered to us so that we may come to grips with it.
[page 162, 163] I have given a general description of the task of the fifth post-Atlantean period by saying that it will be up to humanity during this period to come to grips with evil as an impulse in world evolution. We have talked variously about what this means. It is essential that the forces which manifest as evil if they appear at the wrong place must be taken in hand by human endeavor in the fifth post-Atlantean period in such a way that humanity can achieve something with these forces of evil that will be beneficial for the future of the whole of world evolution. Because of this the task of this fifth post-Atlantean period is an especially difficult one.
Evil is a good arriving out of its time. When such a good out of its time arrives on Earth, we are exhorted by Steiner to take this good and find ways to apply it in proper ways for this time. This can only be done by someone who is fully conscious of the nature of the good which is arriving out of its time.
[page 163] When little by little the powers of evil make their appearance, human beings may naturally be much more inclined to give in to this evil in every field instead of taking up the fight to bring what seems evil to them into the service of world evolution in the sense of what is good. Yet this is what must come about: to a certain degree evil must be placed at the service of world evolution in the good sense. Failing this it will be impossible to enter into the sixth post-Atlantean period, which will have an entirely different task. Although human beings will still be linked with the earth, the task will be to enable them to look continuously into the spiritual world and live in spiritual impulses.
How will we learn to convert evil into good? We will need a lot of help, and that help will come from an ever-present source of spiritual power that we have at our disposal: we have only to ask for it.
[page 165] But something even more significant will occur for the development of the fifth post-Atlantean period when human souls recognize that in Christ they have the I helper they need to transform the forces of evil into good.
Our task, he tells us, is to grasp the spiritual world with our reason in the remainder of this fifth post-Atlantean age. Through Steiner's 6,000 lectures disseminated in his over 300 books, he offers opportunities for us to exert our reason and grasp the spiritual world its existence and mode of operation. Thus he provides us with the means to achieve the results he says are so necessary for humankind if we are to move into the sixth post-Atlantean age. And he avers of a certainty that the spiritual world will be revealed to us: that is a direct result of the battle won by the forces of Michael the Archangel in 1879.
[page 164] The spirit will be revealed, that is certain. Because the spirits of darkness were overcome in 1879, more and more spiritual wisdom will be able to flow down from the spiritual worlds, for those spirits would only have been able to prevent this if they had remained up above in the realms of spirit. They can no longer prevent spiritual wisdom from flowing down, but what they can do is create confusion and bring obscurity to human souls.
In addition, he tells us we must become warriors for the spirit. That we are the best warriors when we strive toward the spirit in freedom and light. If Steiner's great corpus of works is imagined as a building, then the foundation of that building was laid in his book, The Philosophy of Freedom. One must ever return to that book for new insights. In recent months I have worked with Tom Last to help him share his multi-ordinal view of the contents of this book. The good news is that we, you and I, are no longer to be led around like children, especially by nefarious societies and brotherhoods, it is time for us to step out in freedom and light.
[page 165] There is one thing connected with this feature of the fifth post-Atlantean period, one thing which one should inscribe anew into one's soul every day, one thing which one should I not forget even though human beings are particularly prone, to forget this particular thing. This is that in this fifth post-Atlantean period the human being must be a warrior for the spirit; human beings must experience how their forces ebb away if they do not continuously hold them in check for the purpose of winning through to the spiritual world. In this fifth post-Atlantean period human beings stand on their freedom to the highest degree! This is something they have to go through with. The idea of human freedom is the yardstick against which must be measured everything that human beings meet with during this fifth post-Atlantean period. For were their forces to weaken, this could cause everything to turn out for the worst. In this fifth post-Atlantean period human beings are not in the situation of being led like children. If there are certain brotherhoods whose ideal it is to lead human beings like children, as they were led in the third post-Atlantean period, and in the fourth, then these brotherhoods are not doing what is right; they are not doing what actually ought to be done for the evolution of humanity.
Steiner presents information in his books and lectures with a matter-of-fact attitude which seems strange at first, and then as one reads more of his works, it begins to seem new and refreshing. He may exhort, but he never asks the reader to do something simply because he wants them to. He always allows us the choice, in complete freedom, to decide how to live our lives. He lectures, he writes and allows us to use this information as we wish. Contrast his approach with that of your Sunday preacher.
[page 165, 166]Anyone who speaks about the spiritual world must do so in a way that leaves people free to accept or reject what he is saying. Someone speaking about the spiritual world in this fifth post-Atlantean period must constantly remind himself of this. Because of this certain things can only be said in this fifth post-Atlantean period, and the actual saying of these things is now just as important as anything else was in other periods. I will give you an example of what I mean.
In our time, the most important thing is to bring forward truths-put plainly, to give lectures about truths. What people then do about this is up to their freedom. One should go no further than to lecture on, to communicate truths. Whatever consequences there are should follow as a free decision, just as consequences follow when decisions are made out of the impulses one has on the physical plane. It is exactly the same in the case of things that can only be guided from the spiritual world itself.
We mentioned earlier about Ireland being a special place with respect to the forces arising from the Earth. We know it is called "The Island of Saints" known for St. Patrick who is said to have banished the snakes from Ireland. Lacking any historical record of a time before Patrick when there were snakes in Ireland, I wondered as I read the next passage if there were, in fact, never any snakes in Ireland. This seems plausible given the identification in the Bible of Lucifer with the snake and that Lucifer was not allowed on Ireland as a necessary condition for Lucifer entering the Garden of Eden.
[page 167] Once upon a time humanity was driven out of Paradise because Lucifer had led humanity astray in Paradise. So humanity was scattered across the rest of the world. The rest of the world already existed at the time when humanity was driven out of Paradise. So this legendary, fairy-tale description distinguishes between Paradise with Lucifer in it and the rest of the earth into which humanity was driven. But Ireland is different, for it does not belong to the rest of the earth in the same sense because before Lucifer entered Paradise a likeness of it came into being upon the earth, and this likeness became Ireland.
So please understand this: Ireland is that portion of the earth that has no share in Lucifer, that portion to which Lucifer has no connection. The part which had to be I separated off from Paradise so that an earthly likeness could arise would have prevented Lucifer from entering into Paradise. So according to this legend Ireland was seen as the separated off part of Paradise which would have prevented Lucifer from entering into Paradise. Only when Ireland had been separated off was it possible for Lucifer to enter Paradise.
Consider the large number of Catholic priests which Ireland has produced over the years. How can one account for that? Steiner tells us of a brotherhood in Asia Minor who knew about the special emanations from the ground of Ireland and sent people there to glean the benefit from those forces. Yet today, the Irish are known world-wide to have special qualities of heart and soul.
[page 169, 170] They knew that the forces rising up out of the earth through the soil of the island of Ireland work on human beings in such a way that they are little influenced towards becoming intellectual, little influenced towards becoming egoistic, and little influenced towards being able to take decisions firmly. The initiates who sent those colonists knew this very well, and they selected people whose karmic inclinations seemed to make them suitable for being exposed to the influences of the island of Ireland. Today there are still descendants in Ireland of that ancient population transplanted so long ago from Asia Minor who were to develop so as to have not even a trace of intellectuality, not a trace of reason, and not the ability to take firm decisions. On the other hand they were to develop special qualities of heart and soul.
Movements of people is those times were initiated by such spiritual conditions as recounted above, but those spiritual realities are not be found discussed in any history books of today. Historians today, Steiner says, have "the kind of understanding that can be found in the street!"
[page 170] So when you hear historians who do not understand this though of course they have plenty of understanding of the kind that can be found lying in the street when you hear these historians describing those people of ancient times, you must always be aware that such colonizations were imbued with profound wisdom. They were guided and steered always with an eye to what was to take place in the future, and account was always taken of the special characteristics of the earth's evolution.
There is more, much more in these lectures. I have, in effect, held up some of the large nuggets of gold from the mother lodes of riches contained in this eldorado for you to stare at in wonder. Take your own pick-axe and work into these glimmering veins of richness to extract your own golden treasure to use in freedom and light.
Footnote 1. The word Inspiration is capitalized to distinguish it from the ordinary process we know as inspiration Steiner capitalizes Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition because he means specific soul processes which are described in other places, such as Steiners books, The Riddle of Man and Riddles of the Soul.Return to text directly before Footnote 1.
Footnote 2. Here are some of several dozen books by Rudolf Steiner which I have reviewed that contain information about the level of supersensible knowledge known as Inspiration:Return to text directly before Footnote 2.
The Mystery of the Trinity,
Fruits of Anthroposophy,
At Home in the Universe,
and Cosmosophy, Volume 1.
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Footnote 5. Such as the Order of Assassins or the Indian Order of Thugs, which operated over centuries doing such nefarious work and whose existence is doubtful today.Return to text directly before Footnote 5.
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When I returned to New Orleans in 1976, I began doing a lot of reading. I found an amazing bookstore run by Donna France on Phlox Street in Metairie which was filled with books by new authors to me. One of them was a weird-looking guy with an even weirder name, Hazrat Inayat Khan. I had just heard about Sufi dancing and was determined to find out about the Sufis and their traditions, so studying the works of this Cambridge-educated Sufi seemed a good place to start. I began with Volume I in March, 1984 and over the years I have located copies of the rest of the twelve volumes and read them. Unfortunately I had not begun my practice of writing reviews immediately upon reading a book at that time, but I have reviewed six of the volumes since that time. This will be my seventh volume reviewed.
While seeking Sufi authors I found Idries Shah and read many of his works, especially his droll and insightful stories about Nasruddin, the Sufi jokester whose pranks always packed a punch. Many of his escapades have found their way into American stories, losing their Sufi origin. The story of the lost key under a streetlight is a great example. I've heard it quoted several times by people who never heard of Nasruddin. But only in Hazrat Inayat Khan have I found a deep spirituality comparable to that of Rudolf Steiner. One could read Khan and never discover his religion; his religion was spirituality not connected to any form of worship, similar to Steiner, even though Khan's roots were Middle Eastern and Steiner's roots were European.
There is a Sufi Message as the title claims, but it is a message worthy of reading by all peoples, not just the eastern Sufi mystics. Khan relates them to us as ten principal Sufi thoughts and all persons, who are aware of their inner life, can relate to them.
Thought 1: 'There is One God, the Eternal, the Only Being; none exists save He.'
By whatever name you call God in your belief, the Sufi sees God as beyond the limitations of a name. The Sufi walks through life forgetting about himself, set firmly on the path of love and life.
Thought 2: 'There is One Master, the Guiding Spirit of all Souls, who constantly leads His followers towards the light.'
God speaks to everyone, but for the deaf ears among us to hear, He must speak through the lips of a human being. To insist on only one teacher is to separate yourselves from others, leading to all kinds of inhumanity to humans.
Thought 3: 'There is One Holy Book, the sacred manuscript of nature, the only scripture which can enlighten the reader.'
This is the same holy book that Thoreau(1) read out of everyday as he walked through his native Concord. He would have agreed with this statement by Khan, "To the eye of the seer every leaf of the tree is a page of the holy book that contains divine revelation, and he is inspired every moment of his life by constantly reading and understanding the holy script of nature." (Page 16)
Thought 4: 'There is One Religion, the unswerving progress in the right direction towards the ideal, which fulfils the life's purpose of every soul.'
Religion leads one to an ideal, worldly and heavenly. Sufis care less for religions or places of worship as all convey to them the religion of the soul.
Thought 5: 'There is One Law, the law of reciprocity, which can be observed by a selfless, conscience, together with a sense of awakened justice.'
A lesson I learned from my father-in-law, Dick Richards, in a good deal both sides profit.
Thought 6: 'There is One Brotherhood, the human brotherhood which unites the children of earth indiscriminately in the Fatherhood of God.'
Khan points out that the wars between nations today can be equated to the puerile family fueds of the past.
Thought 7: 'There is One Moral, the love which spring forth from self-denial and blooms in deeds of beneficence.'
Khan says, "All ignorance is the lack of love. . . . The eye can only see the surface; love can see much deeper."
Thought 8: 'There is One Object of Praise, the beauty which uplifts the heart of its worshipers through all aspects from the seen to the unseen.'
Khan worships beauty in all things, saying, "Everywhere I look, I see Thy winning face; everywhere I go, I arrive at Thy dwelling-place."
Thought 9: 'There is One Truth, the true knowledge of our being, within and without, which is the essence of all wisdom.'
Life is a puzzle with an enigma on each end: what happens before we are born, what happens after we die? Khan answers this way: "Those whose hearts have been kindled by the light from above, begin to ponder such questions but those whose souls are already illumined by the knowledge of the self understand them. It is they who give to individuals or to the multitudes the benefit of their knowledge, so that even men whose hearts are not yet kindled, and whose souls are not illuminated, may be able to walk on the right path that leads to perfection."
Thought 10: 'There is One Path, the annihilation of the false ego in the real, which raises the mortal to immortality, in which resides all perfection.'
Khan says, "I passed away into nothingness — I vanished; and lo! I as all living." He adds, "The Sufi, realizing this, takes the path of annihilation, and, by the guidance of a teacher on the path, finds at the end of this journey that the destination was himself."
In a simple 1960's cartoon, I found a philosophy of living that has proven useful to me. It showed a man walking on stepping stones across a wide stream. He has stopped in the middle of the stream because there were no more stepping stones, but a sign reading, "Coming Soon: Another Stone". Khan says something similar in this passage:
[page 25] One does not bemoan the past, nor worry abut the future; one tries only to make the best of today. One should know no failure, for even in a fall there is a stepping-stone to rise; but to the Sufi the rise and fall matter little. One does not repent for what one has done, since one thinks, says, and does what one means. One does not fear the consequences of performing one's wish in life, for what will be, will be.
In this next passage, Khan tells us, in effect, the we can let our delight in the stranger remove the darkness of the ages. Each religion brings a stranger to us in darkness, one we do not trust because we cannot get past his strangeness. This has caused numberless problems for human beings over the ages.
[page 31] Rejection of the stranger, and belief only in the one whom he has once acknowledged, has kept man in darkness for ages. If he believe one message he would not accept the succeeding message, brought by another master, who was perhaps a stranger to him. This has cause many troubles in the lives of all the Masters. Man refused to believe the masters and their teachings, whether of the past or future, if their names were not written in the particular tradition he believed, or if he had not heard their names in the legends handed down for ages among his people.
The therapeutic insights of Milton Erickson came in the stories he told, such as how he led a reluctant cow into the warmth of a barn in freezing weather in winter-time. His brother would pull on the rope attached to the cow's neck, and the cow would resist with all its might. Finally he would drag cow skidding over the snow into the barn. Milton's approach was to aim the cow away from the open barn door and pull so that the cow resisted and moved backwards into the barn without any effort by Milton.
One doesn't know if Milton's brother ever learned how to easily get the cow into the barn, but the people Milton told this story to learned that one must approach a problem in the direction it is already intended to go. The spiritual insights of Hazrat Inayat Khan often came in stories, such as this one describing how to catch a stray horse.
[page 32] This is . . . the myth of Ramachandra. It is said in the Purana that once Sita, the consort of Ramachandra, was staying in the guardianship of Vashista Rishi with her sons. The younger son, Lahu, one day went to see the neighboring town. He saw Kalanki, a most beautiful horse, running about the city without a rider. When he enquired whose the horse was, people told him that this horse had been let loose so that whoever was able to catch it should be made the king of that kingdom. This tempted the youth, and he ran after the horse in order to catch it. He continued running a long time, and met with nothing but disappointments. Every time he came close to the horse, thinking now he would catch it, it slipped from his hand. When he reached the point of utter disappointment, he saw his brother coming in search of him, sent by his mother, and he told him that he would not come back till he had caught the horse. The brother said, 'That is not the way to catch a horse; in this way you will perhaps run for ever and will not be able to catch it. Therefore, instead of running after the horse, run to meet it.' This caused the younger brother to succeed in a moment's time. Then both brothers were taken to the presence of Ramachandra, their father, who embraced both, acknowledging the guidance of the one and the achievement of the other.
Similar to Milton's story, the younger brother's perception of the difficulty of the task kept him from succeeding.
How does an initiate (mureed) come to trust his master (murshid)? Khan gives us three ways and gives us insight into what goes into becoming a Sufi.
[page 47, 48] There are three ways people can trust. One is not to trust a person until he proves in time to be trustworthy. To those who trust in this there will be not satisfactory gain on this path, for they will go on, like a spy, trying and testing the Murshid with their eyes focused downward. Hence they can only see the imperfect self of the teacher, and will never be able to see the beauty of the perfect self, above and beyond the limits of their view.
The second way of trusting is to trust and to continue to do so until tbe person is proved unworthy of trust. Those who trust in this way are better suited than the first, for if their trust makes their sight keen they will have every prospect of development, provided that intelligence guides them all the way.
But the third way of trusting a person is to have an absolute trust, and to continue until it be proved true. This is the trust of devotees. It is these mureeds who make the Murshid. It is such worshipers who make God. 'By faith, a tongue is produced from the rock, and it speaks to us as God, but when faith is lacking, even God, the Eternal Being, is as dead as a rock.' The word of the Murshid is as useless to the doubting mind as a remedy to the unbelieving patient.
The goal of a Sufi is "to kindle the fire of divine love, which alone has any value; to be able to read nature's manuscript and to be able to see into the world unseen; to learn how to control oneself; to light the torch of the soul and to kindle the fire of the heart . . ." Khan adds, "It is better to arrive in the light than to be only transported through the dark. 'Who is blind here will be blind in the hereafter.'"
One should not undergo initiation to learn what goes on in a secret order. Khan warns, "The eye of curiosity has the cataract of doubt, and is blind already." (Page 49)
Why do Sufis tell droll stories of such pranksters as Nasruddin? Because they know it is better not to awaken others from their sleep of confusion. They are little children, immature souls, who are best allowed their sleep if they are to grow.
[page 52] Therefore those who are awakened walk slowly and gently, lest their footsteps may disturb the slumber ot the sleeping one. They only awaken on their way those whom they find tossing in their beds. They are the one to whom the traveler on the spiritual path give their hand quietly.
Sufism is not a religion, but considers all religions part of it. Khan admits that the Christian devotion to the Sacred Heart has a strong link with the Sufi philosophy of the One Beloved, which is the Sufi way of illumination in its essence.
"The inner life is a birth of the soul; as Christ said, that unless the soul is born again I cannot enter the kingdom of heaven." One can see here the respect that Hazrat Inayat Khan has for Christ Jesus.
[page 80] Once man has experienced the inner life, the fear of death has expired; because the he knows death comes to the body, not to his inner being. When once he begins to realize life in his heart and in his soul, then he looks upon his body as a coat. If the coat is old he puts it away and takes a new one, for his being does not depend upon this coat. The fear of death lasts only so long a man has not realized that his real being dos not depend upon his body.
Sarmud was a great Sufi who lived in the Moghul Empire, and, as a man of ecstasy, lived every moment of his life in prayer. Rightly understood, most of the laws of religion are laws for children, and everyone in this empire was required to attend the place of prayer. "What," Sarmud must have thought, "I must wait until Sunday to pray?" and he refused to interrupt his own prayers to attend their prayers, so they beheaded him.
[page 83] The consequence was that the Moghul Empire declined and its downfall can be dated from that time: the entire Moghul civilization, unique in its period, fell to pieces.
The Hindus avoided falling into many pieces because their religion worshiped God as existing in every aspect of the human being.
[page 83] It is that which makes the Hindu religion perfect. When people say, 'This place is sacred, and that other place is not sacred; that particular thing is holy, and all other things not holy,' in this way they divide life into many pieces, the life which is one, the life which cannot be divided.
In my Final Paper for the graduate seminar, Teaching & Learning in the College Classroom, I began with a poem called "Thus a Teacher, So Also a Learner". That poem got its original inspiration from the following passage by Khan in which he compares learning as forming a knot in one's mind, and unlearning to removing a knot in one's mind.
[page 94] Now the question is, how does one unlearn? Learning is forming a knot in the mind. Whatever one learns from experience or from a person, one makes a knot of it in the mind; and there are as many knots found as there are things one has learned. Unlearning is unraveling the knot; and it is as hard to unlearn as it is to untie a knot.
One's whose mind is made up about a subject has a very tight knot to be loosened, and it is the job of the Teacher to help loosen that knot, so teaching is loosening a knot in a formed (knotted) mind. Often planting a fruitful seed of learning required a lot of plowing to remove the knotted roots of old learnings.
[page 94, italics added] How much effort it requires, how much patience it requires, to unravel when one has made a knot and pulled it tight from both sides! So it requires patience and effort to unravel the knots in the-mind. And what helps the process. The light of reason working with full power unravels the mental knots. A knot is a limited reason. When one unravels it, its limitation is taken away, it is open. And when the mind becomes smooth by unlearning and by digging out all impressions, of good and bad, of right and wrong, then the ground of the heart becomes as cultivated ground, just as the land does after ploughing.
The italicized phrase in the above passage grew into my creation of the limitation eraser years later. If you do not have a Teacher around to help you remove some limitation, if there is no one to help you loosen a tightly-formed knot in your mind, then the limitation eraser is ready to assist you. Simply state your limitation, take a deep breath, and then finish the sentence with the words "up until now."
When life begins to seem indifferent to a man's soul , the Hindus say he has become a Vairagi.
[page 100] It is a person who has lost the value in his eyes of all that attracts the human being. It is no more attractive to him; it no more enslaves him. He may still be interested in all things of this life, but is not bound to them. The first feeling of the Vairagi is to turn away from everything. He shows the nature of the deer, which runs away at the flutter of a leaf; for he becomes sensitive and convinced of the disappointing results that come from the limitation and changeableness of life in the world. Hurt within, he becomes sensitive, and the first thing that occurs to his mind is to fly, to hide somewhere, to go into a cave in the mountains, or into the forest where he will meet no one.
Decades ago, I had a friend in such a condition who spoke of moving into a cave in the Himalayan mountains. I was sympathetic to his wishes, but suggested perhaps the small, one room apartment he was living in could become that cave for him.
In his description of the traits of a Vairagi, Khan says, "He never allows himself to deceived a second time; once disappointed is sufficient." As I read the italicized portion of Khan's words some thirty-three years later, I realized that it was the seed of my first Matherne's Rule, Once in a Row is Enough.
Another rule of mine has the pronounceable acronym EAT-O-TWIST which stands for Everything Allways(2) Turns Out The Way It's Supposed To. Note that the verb supposed does not refer to something required, but rather refers to something expected. This quality of expecting something to happen creates a desire in the human heart which, rightly understood, is inevitably fulfilled, whether in this lifetime or a succeeding one.
[page 172] There are objects which remain unfulfilled in one's lifetime on earth; they are accomplished on the further journey in the spirit world. For nothing that the human heart has once desired remains unfulfilled. If it is not fulfilled here, it is accomplished in the hereafter. The de ire of the soul is the wish of God; small or great, right or wrong, it has a moment of fulfilment. If that moment does not come while the soul is on the earth-plant it come to the soul in the spirit world.
There was only one prayer that Christ Jesus left for humans, The Lord's Prayer, and it contains within it an evocation of EAT-O-TWIST, rightly understood.
[page 176] The soul of man is the spark of God. Though this spark is limited on earth, still God is all-powerful ; and by teaching this prayer 'Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven', the Master has given a key to every soul who repeats this prayer; a key to open that door behind which is the secret of that almighty power and perfect wisdom which raises the soul above all limitations.
Whatever we desire or expect in our heart of hearts will be granted to us, so it is essential that what we desire be moral, be worthy of our highest ideals, and that our goals should ever be optimistic. I recall the story of a pessimist and an optimist falling from a tall skyscraper: the pessimist kept saying all the way down, "I'm doomed!" and the optimist kept saying, "So far, so good." In which way do you want your life to proceed? EAT-O-TWIST! Hazrat Inayat Khan gives us a story which illustrates the difference between the world of the optimist and of the pessimist.
[page 178] A man who had heard of there being a tree of desire was once traveling; and he happened to find himself under the shade of a tree, which he felt to he restful and cooling, so he sat there leaning against it. He said to himself, 'How beautiful is nature; how cooling is the shade of this tree, and the breeze is most exhilarating; but I wish I had a soft carpet to sit on, and some cushions to lean against.' No sooner had he thought about it than he saw himself sitting in the midst of soft cushions. 'How wonderful,' he thought, 'to have got this'; but now he thought, 'If only I had a glass of cooling drink'; and there came a fairy with a most delicious glass of cold drink. He enjoyed it, but said, 'I would like a good dinner.' No sooner had he thought of a dinner than a gold tray was brought to him, with beautifully arranged dishes of all sorts. Now he thought, 'If only I had a chariot, that I might take a drive into the forest'; and a four-horse chariot was already there, the coachman greeting him with bent head. He thought, 'Everything I desire comes without any effort. I wonder if it is true, or all a dream.' No sooner had he thought this than everything disappeared, and he found himself sitting on the same ground leaning against the tree.
This is the picture of the spirit world. It is the world of the optimist. The pessimist has no share in its great glory, because he refuses to accept the possibility which is the nature of life. Thus he denies to himself all he desires, and even the possibility of achieving his desires.
The pessimist stands in his own light, and defeats his own object here, and even more so in the hereafter, where the desire is seed which is sown in the soil of the spirit world. Optimism is the water which rears the plant; but the intelligence at the same time gives that sunshine which helps the plant to flourish on the earth.
One can only offer this advice to the pessimists: "Stop standing in your own light." You have been using EAT-O-TWIST backwards and receiving dark deeds, up until now. From now on, expect to perceive deeds of light.
The English pray, "All's well that ends well", and think it to be a good motto, but the Sufis pray, "Make our ends good", always aware that, though there be tough going presently, do not mind, because the real success will be in the end, in their completion. (Page 226)
With those ending words, we close this review, knowing we have steered you over some rough sections of road, but hoping you are pleased with the smooth sections of road you now find before you.
~^~Return to text directly before Footnote 1.
Footnote 2.Return to text directly before Footnote 2.
I coined the word allways to refer to in all ways and at all times. More details on EAT-O-TWIST can be found in The Invented Reality edited by Paul Watzlawick and my explanation of Rule#10 at http://www.doyletics.com/mrules.shtml#mrn10
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I hear often from my Good Readers that they have bought books after reading my book reviews. Remember: A book is like a 3-D kindle. Keep reading, folks! As I like to remind you, to obtain more information on what's in these books, buy and read the books for less information, read the reviews.
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= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =In this section I like to comment on events in the world, in my life, and in my readings which have come up during the month. These are things I might have shared with you in person, if we had had the opportunity to converse during the month. If we did, then you may recognize my words. If I say some things here which upset you, rest assured that you may skip over these for the very reason that I would likely have not brought up the subject to spoil our time together in person.1. Padre Filius Delivers a Christmas Card personally this Month:
Padre Filius, the cartoon character created by your intrepid editor and would-be cartoonist, will appear from time to time in this Section of DIGESTWORLD to share with us some amusing or enlightening aspect of the world he interacts with during his peregrinations.
This month the good Padre hands a Hand-Signed Christmas Card to Carson, the Whitcomb's Butler in the French Quarter:
2. Comments from Readers:
NOTE: I love hearing from all my Good Readers and including your missives here (slightly edited).
If you prefer any comments or photos you send to be private, simply say so and they will not be published.
- EMAIL Supporting doyletics from Kristina in Australia:
I have been doing some speed tracing lately to deal with some anxiety.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ REPLY FROM BOBBY ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Here is a Steiner quote I received today which seems to support doyletics:We would understand many human lives if we were to know what has entered the hidden depths during the course of life. We would understand many a human being in his 30th, 40th, 50th year - we would know why he has this or that inclination, why he feels so deeply the cause of his dissatisfaction - we would understand many things if we were to trace the life of such a man back to his childhood. In his childhood, we would see how parents and surroundings influenced him; what was called forth during childhood in the form of sorrow and joy, pain and pleasure - things perhaps that are completely forgotten, but influence a man's entire state of health and of mind. For what surges and rolls down into the hidden depths of soul-life out of our consciousness, continues to be active there below.
- EMAIL from Jeff Parsons in Sunny Arizona:
Just read the latest Digestworld and was surprised in your movie reviews you didn't cover a popular film.
"Bohemian Rhapsody" is a movie based upon life of Freddie Mercury and the evolution of the music of Queen. The story is enlightening and of course the music is great. There have been conversations of Oscar nominations for it.
Please see it, if not for just your entertainment.
Keep up the good work. I enjoy reading it.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ REPLY FROM BOBBY ~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thanks, Jeff! Have added it to my NetFlix queue to view.
- EMAIL from Co-Grandpa Rod in Louisiana:
I have been reading and enjoying your letter every month for the past several years. Thats some GREAT grandkids we have, Huh?
Another thing I noticed is that you and Del sure seem to have more fun than I do. Anyway, have a Merry Christmas.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ REPLY FROM BOBBY ~~~~~~~~~~~~
Great to hear from you and glad to have you as a Good Reader!
Hope you have a Merry Christmas as well!
3. Poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:"Renaissance of Liberty"
Give me your poor, huddled masses, your deplorables yearning to breathe free and I will give them taxes, regulations, restrictions, and every manner of unfairness ever created by persons saddled with the illusion that they can decide what is best for someone else's welfare. The individual, like the business professional, knows what's best in a given situation and, given the freedom, will take that action. The forces of coercion are prying open the shell that contains the living muscle and spirit of our oyster — the American people — will we resist those forces and keep our muscles and spirit alive, free to open at will, or will we give up like the oyster and settle for "freedom on the half shell?" Here is another poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:
Renaissance of Liberty
The doctrine of free will
Seems to me to be
When every one has 100% control of
One's manifest destiny.
To be forced by law to cooperate
Is to sabotage our freedom
With a will most determinate.
Does it seem that every one
Must be forced to cooperate
For the common weal?
Would God set up commandments
In contravention to free will?
Or is it we humans who
Build semantic fences for our kin
When we promulgate human-made law
In the name of a God that Moses saw?
Does one's thoughts belong
To God, to oneself, or to the state?
Giving to Caesar those things
That are Caesar's is to respect Caesar's property.
When Caesar leaves to us
Those things that are ours
That will be the renaissance of liberty.
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9. CLOSING NOTES:
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